Dr Kevin Leman, a family psychologist whose writing I have enjoyed, asks parents to consider “Are you running a house or a hotel?” When your kid drops a towel on the floor, does the maid pick it up? Does the front desk provide convenient reminders to pack backpacks, and remember library books? Is there express laundry service when too many socks have been abandoned under the bed instead of making the journey to the laundry chute?
Not only does my daughter get tired of me telling her to do things, I get tired of listening to myself!
Enter the chore chart. We have tried various systems but perhaps never really thought through what outcome we were trying to achieve. I would like to improve her independence, reduce my nagging, and give her more experiences with money.
We settled on 6 basic items to do every day, and an opportunity to earn up to $5.00 a week. This money can be used for her personal church contributions, earrings at Claire’s, apps for iPad, and the like. I hope this experience can provide a foundation for the bigger “wants” that await in middle school… iPhones, Ugg boots, Vera Bradley backpacks. Mom and Dad definitely live by a budget and when we make a luxury purchase we see what kind of a bite it takes out of our fun money.
We printed a chart off that she can maintain, and she will be paid on Saturdays when we close out our budget week. We shall see how it goes… day 1 was fantastic and quite refreshing for me!
What experiences have you had with getting your children to contribute to the work of running the household?
It’s going to be hard to top our trip to Santa Fe…
I admit it… we are usually already discussing our next vacation on the way home from a vacation. This fall when I returned to work we found a new way to involve our daughter, age 8, in our budget process. We decided to have her be able to observe the saving process for our next vacation.
We use the money I earn from part-time work to fund various “wants” and my husband’s check does all the heavy lifting… insurance, retirement and college savings, taxes. Grown-up stuff! When I get paid, we now convene the family around the glow of the MacBook and fire up our spreadsheet. How much did mom earn? How much of that can we deposit into the vacation fund? It has been a great, simple way to see the process of making a plan for our money.
We stumbled into another teachable moment regarding money as a result. My daughter was interested in an after school art class ($125.00 plus additional fees for only 5 one-hour sessions)! Normally we budget way ahead for any special classes she might take in summer. This one sprang up as a surprise. We told her she could take the class, but that the next deposit to the vacation fund was going to be a lot LOT smaller. She decided it wasn’t worth it. Had the class been $40.00, I would have just written the check and carried on, but given the expense, it was the absolute truth that enrolling in the class would mean little to put towards our vacation fund in that pay period.
We don’t know where our next vacation will be just yet. Usually we start planning in January after the holiday excitement fades and there is still a lot of winter to roll through. The planning and imagining is all part of the fun!
Roll Out The Barrel….
We have a tradition every year of celebrating Oktoberfest with friends at a local beer garden. With the festival comes the lure of … carnival games. Doesn’t every parent look forward to an opportunity to bring home a betta fish in colored water, or a set of pink and purple stuffed horses?
This year we offered our daughter a choice … she could play the games as in years past, where Dad usually spent $10.00, or she could “bank” the $10.00 and use it for something that might have a higher fun quotient. She chose to pass on the games, and have the $10.00 to spend later. She was a trooper that night resisting the lure of knock-off inflatable M&M characters and pink dolphins.
Today an opportunity arose to take advantage of that $10.00. She has really wanted to get a membership to an online game she enjoys called Animal Jam. I reminded her of her fun money and she was over the moon to be able to get this membership, and still have a bit of money left over.
My money management lessons don’t always pan out as I hope, but this was a win-win for both of us!