This weekend was a minor triumph for my family, my daughter especially.
My husband and I are passionate about having a healthy relationship with money. It isn’t easy, and sometimes we fail. But most of all, we try to instill in our kids that money is something to be respected.
We instituted an allowance for our daughter a few months ago. She has the ability to earn up to $1.00 per day. She gets .25 for making her bed, .25 for cleaning her room, and .50 for cleaning up the entire playroom. She is 4, so it isn’t a daily occurrence that she actually completes the tasks.
Sometimes, it is still a fight. There was a week where she refused to clean, finding reasons and complaining. But we stuck to our guns. I was no longer cleaning the playroom for her, and she wasn’t getting her allowance unless she did it all by herself, and without complaint.
Some days were great, she even offered to make her brother’s bed in exchange for .25. We obliged every time she brought it up. My son even has his own piggy bank, so he is sometimes inspired to make his bed. And immediately ask for his coins.
My daughter’s class also collects money for charity every week. The kids bring in money in their special little boxes, and have to explain what they did to earn their donation. Before Friday rolls around, my daughter always asks for an extra job in order to earn her money for charity.
About a week ago, she started counting her money. She found a Lego set that she wanted, so we showed her how much more she needed to buy the set (it was $10) and broke down what it would take to earn that money. She needed 2 dollars, so she had to clean up the playroom 4 times, or she needed to do all her jobs for two days.
It took her a week to get the final $2. She initiated her jobs when she thought about it, and we made sure she had dollar bills to go to the store with. We drove to the next state over to go to the Lego store, just because it was a special occasion.
She spent half the trip discussing what she needed to do – she had to find the box, take it off the shelf, and then take it to the register and pay for it. It was so exciting for her.
As she stood in line, I was so proud of her, we took lots of pictures, and watched as she excitedly laid out her money on the counter to pay for her set.
I think that is my proudest moment so far. She finally is starting to realize that things cost money. She is also realizing that there is hard work involved with making money. These are two concepts that are hard to teach kids of any age, let alone 4 year olds.
What money lessons are you teaching your children?