Where do your kids get money from? Is it from grandma, from birthdays, from gifts? Getting a gift is all well and good, however what does this teach them? Do they have any understanding of what you go through to earn that money? Or is it just “gimme, gimme, gimme?”
For a while, I did not think my children had a grasp on what it takes to buy a new toy. It got to the point that they had so much they didn’t seem to treasure any of it. It became my fear that they would come to expect that getting an overabundance of things was a common place.
To combat this, I made the decision if my children wanted something they would have to start buying it on there own. They would have to put in the work like me and their father had. I implemented this strategy after my son turned 4 and my daughter, 7. At first there was some resistance. But once we held firm to the word “no” when at the store, our kids started to see that they were going to have to earn their way to a new toy.
I followed the lead of Rachel Cruz’s book “Smart Money, Smart Kids” to tweak the chore regimen I had begun to implement. There are a few key points in designing our chore plan that I thought made a lot of sense and mimicked real world work in a kid friendly way.
- Don’t give your kid an allowance, give them a salary – An allowance implies that there is a weekly expectation that the child will get money no matter what or how many chores they do. A salary is the amount they earn based on the job they do.
- Make it optional – Just like in life. If you don’t do any work, then you don’t get paid. Giving them the option to say no allows them to see the results of their choice. (Not having any money to spend later on.)
- Make some chores unpaid – There should be one or two tasks that are unpaid but are contributing to the household. It reflects a respect for the maintenance and a stewardship of our home. It also helps kid to understand taking care of our home is not just mom and dad’s responsibility, but the job of everyone living in the house.
- Have a payment schedule -Give your children a set number of weekly chores they can accomplish and a set payment amount for each. Allow them to do optional chores if they feel industrious.
- Do not pay for shotty work-Build your childrens pride in the work they do by praising them when they do a good job. Just as important do not pay them for a job that they did not a put a full effort into. And by all means do not do it for them! They will learn nothing from being enabled. Even if it is not perfect, let them experience the sense of pride in a job well done.