I don’t know about your toddler or preschooler, but mine has a lot of toys. It all started off so innocently when we realized he was trying to make do with a rattle at 10 months and we bought him his first Little People truck. Ever since then, it’s been an avalanche of toys into our home. Mostly because little Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars are under a dollar, but now we have buckets of those little vehicles.
Truthfully, I’m not that irritated by the small things, like Hot Wheels and Thomas trains. They make him extremely happy, they’re cheap, they last forever. Plus that can be easily stored in baskets and taken on trips. The little cars pretty much get my thumbs-up when it comes to toys for toddler boys.
It’s the BIG stuff that starts spinning my head. And whoa boy, does he like the BIG stuff. When we were out shopping one afternoon, he saw this log truck that he HAD TO HAVE, OMG MOM, DO YOU SEE THAT LOG TRUCK?! It was $30 (pricey for a toy in my opinion) and big. Very big. Like, where the heck is this going to go once it’s in the house? big. His blue eyes stared up at me, pleading. And right there in the aisle of Home Goods, I decided that 3 1/2 years old was good enough to start earning allowance. I knelt down beside him and said, “I’ll tell you what. You earn some money by doing extra chores and you can buy this truck with that money.” In my opinion, it was the perfect compromise. I got to teach him a lesson and he got that ridiculous truck.
Starting that evening, Harrison did every single chore he could muster to the point that I was scraping my brains to think of new chores. I didn’t want him earning money for things that were already expected of him like cleaning up his toys, carrying his dishes to the sink, being good in school. Instead, he earned $0.50 for setting the table each night, $0.50 for watering my plants out front. He earned $1.00 for helping his daddy load grass clippings into the trash can and believe me, it wasn’t easy work. One Saturday, I called his grandparents and asked if they had any small chores. So instead of going to the pool, Harrison picked up sticks and pine cones and earned a whopping $2.00 for an hour of work.
It wasn’t easy for him—it was an exercise in work and patience. But he did it without complaining, always keeping his eye on the prize of the log truck. I could feel the pride almost bursting out of my chest.
When he earned $15.00 (I only required that he meet me half-way), we made it a family affair to drive to the store.
Where after weeks of obsessing over a log truck, he picked a crane truck instead.
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