Did you know that a token system can help you determine your child's money management personality? Well it is true.
Working at home and being a full time mom has its challenges. The biggest being that you are working full-time, but your kids are also trashing your house full-time. When my 3 year old said "hey lady, I want some food!" as she was lounging on a pillow, I knew it was time for something to be done.
So we unplugged the tv. I know, mean mom. We painted some jars that we bought for $1.00 at Walmart and filled the big one with foam "tokens". They are really foam ball stickers, but whatever, they are worth their weight in gold right now. Each token is worth 15 minutes of tv. To earn tokens the kids must help me around the house. You wouldn't believe the things kids will do for a foam token. Oh yes, my 7 y.o. even offered to clean the toilets!
But the most interesting part of this little experiment was getting a sneak peek into my children's money management skills. My oldest, and the most soft hearted (7 y.o.) hords her tokens. She works hard, constantly asks what else she can do to help, but is scared to death to give up one of those tokens. As if by giving up one, the entire jar will disappear.
Our middle child (5 y.o.) has clearly been living in Vegas too long. The minute he earns a token, he is turning it in for 15 minutes of tv. I've tried to explain to him that he could watch an entire cartoon episode if he saved his token and earned another. No dice. He wants his tv and he wants it now. I think he is actually going through withdrawl. We set a timer for the amount of tv they are allowed to watch. He bursts into tears everytime that thing goes off. I'm sure I will have to pay for his therapy later in life. "My mom was so mean, she wouldn't even let me watch tv.........."
And the youngest (sigh). We like to call her Eloise. Those books could have been written about her (by the way did you know they were written about Liza Minelli? Who knew?!). Our 3 y.o. seems to be the brains behind this operation. She has swindled more tokens out of her brother and sister then she has actually earned. She can give them those big brown eyes and before you know it, they are opening their little jars and handing her their sacred tokens. Then she grins and yells, MOOOMMMMMM, I WANT TO WATCH TV NOW! I don't think this is working the way it is suppose to with her.
The moral of the story is, I'm teaching my kids a lesson about working hard to earn what you want. My house is a little cleaner which means I can get a little more work done. But I have to admit that I miss turning on a movie so I can jump on the computer for a little while (isn't that what the parenting books say to do?) LOL. So who is really getting the lesson here? I'm not sure but I think I just punished myself.