Financial Responsibility. One of the most important lessons kids need to learn.
As a parent, we have many things to teach our children. We want for them to grow up to be compassionate, smart, well-balanced and happy. It is also important to make sure that they have the tools they need to take care of themselves. We remember to teach them how to cook, do laundry and run a household. However, are you remembering to teach them financial responsibility?
I will be the first one to admit that we’ve tried different systems. Some have worked and others – not so much. As our kids grow, the system was use has changed along with them. What worked when they were 7 and younger no longer is effective as they are growing up.
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IT’S NOT AN ALLOWANCE
When our kids earn money, we call it commissions. We never refer to it as allowance. As they complete their required work, they earn commissions — just like would happen at at work.
If they go above and beyond, they are eligible to earn bonuses. However, if they do the wrong things, they are charged fines.
It was important to us to use terminology our children will be taught when they grow up. We even created a chart which works for us based upon our system of rewards. Our chart includes categories for responsibilities, bonuses and fines. Here is how we apply each one.
Our kids range in age from 8 – 12. Each of them has different daily responsibilities. The types of jobs differ based upon their age. For example, my older will be responsible for cleaning the entire bathroom, whereas the youngest is learning how to clean the toilet.
We ensure that their tasks are items they can do on their own. They include such as make your bed, put away your clean laundry, pick up your toys, set/clear the table, keep your shoes in your room, etc. Simple things. Easy things. We then assigned a weekly value to each chore for the week.
For instance, if they make their bed every day they will earn $1 for the week. However, if they miss one day, the forfeit the entire value for the week. You can of course assign a daily value if you would like – it is up to you.
Who doesn’t love a bonus? I know that my kids do! We’ve got a section on our form just for this.
All of us want to to teach our children to take initiative and not be told to do things. We want them to see that the toys need to be picked up from the front room or that there are still crayons on the table at dinner time and put them where they belong — without mom or dad asking them to do so. These items earn bonus dollars. We assign a value to each bonus completed, which results in additional money for the week!
Ahhh, yes. The fines. If you are caught speeding, you may get a traffic ticket and get a fine. The same goes for our children.
Each our kids always has an area with which they struggle. For one it may be fighting and another it is talking back. These events are assigned a fine value. Each time they do something that earns them a fine, they get a checkmark by that item on their chart. This helps them visualize what they are losing by doing things that mom and dad may find less than desirable.
Each Sunday evening is Pay Day. We don’t just add up what they’ve earned and pay them. Nope! We get them involved in the process!!
To start, they total the amount of commissions they earned for the week. Next, they add in any bonuses they are are due. In our house, a bonus is earned if you do that item every single day. For instance, if our daughter always picks up something without being told each day, she will earn $3 for the week. However, if she misses a day, she loses the entire bonus.
Then, we pay them the amount they are due. In order to be ready for the next section on the chore chart, we make sure we pay them in a mix of bills and coins. They are always happy to hold their money. But then come the fines.
We have our children each look at their charts to see the fines they had for the week. As we come to a fine, we tell them you owe me “X.” They must pull out the payment from the cash/change on the table and place it in my hand. We do this for each and every violation.
This is the hardest part of payday for our children. It is very difficult for them to have to give us back the money they just earned. However, this is teaching them a valuable lesson — there are costs associated with doing the wrong things in life. We hope that this is helping instill morals and values that are so important.
HOW THEY SPEND
Once they have settled up with mom and dad, we help them count what they have left. Then, they place their cash into one of three envelopes: Save, Give, Spend. They are required to put a select percentage into Give and Save and the rest goes into Spend. Give money is either donated at church or given to charity. They can use Spend money on whatever they want (within reason, of course).
When our children want to purchase something, we make them take their own money to the store. I won’t forget the time our oldest purchased a LEGO set with her own money. She had just enough to cover the cost, which left her with around $1 – $2. She was very upset – but she learned a lesson. Just because she has money, she doesn’t have to spend it. So now, we are heading out to the store tomorrow and she has already shopped on-line to learn the prices and know what she wants to buy. She also already said that she is not spending all of her money on toys – which makes me so proud of her.
Get your free chore charts by signing up above. You can do what we did with ours too! We went to our local UPS Store and had it laminated. Now, our kids use dry erase markers on theirs. We just wipe it clean each week and use it over and over again! A simple way to save money on paper and ink.
Everyone can talk to their children about strangers, drugs, and reproduction. However, parents tend to forget about money and financial responsibility. It is just as important as everything else. We feel good knowing that our children already know the importance of earning money as well as how to save and give and even how to spend it wisely. It is our hope that by the time they are adults that this is normal to them and they will always continue to be wise when it comes to managing their money.