Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Q & A

First off, I just have to say THANK YOU for all the words of encouragement and wisdom yesterday.  I have taken lots of notes and I’m so grateful to be armed with more wisdom for this experimental adventure I’m on!

What do your kids do with the 70% of their income that they get to keep? {from our money system I outlined back here} My kids are 10, 8 and 5 and I feel like they won't keep it in their wallets. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

We have some spenders and some savers in our family. We figure that’s ok because this is all a learning process. The 70% is for them to learn to work with money, and at these ages, it’s not a whole ton so in our eyes it’s ok if it doesn’t stay in their wallets for long (especially since we know that 20% is tucked safely away, and 10% is given for charitable giving…more about that towards the middle of the post here). 

This is the best time for those kids whose money burns a hole in their pockets to learn the hard knocks when their friends all go do something or they really want something at the store and they are out of luck cause they spent their money on junk.  SO much better to learn how hard it is to not to have saved for a rainy day now while they’re young than when they get older. 

The important thing as a parent is to not feel sorry for them and step in and take care of things if they put on the puppy-dog eyes about not having money for something.  That’s how they learn.

Your kids are still pretty young so maybe you want to limit the amount they get in those hot little hands of theirs, but the main point is just learning the importance of saving and giving (tithing or some sort of charity). I think the reason we tried this system and then bagged it to try other systems for a couple years is that we started it too early. Be patient with it and tweak it to work with your family and I think you'll love it.

{This one is also in regards to the money system} [Our family started this system and] some of my kids LOVE this kind of thing and are totally motivated by it and slipped right into the routine... while others, not so much. I have to say, it's been hard! Is it normal to have a little bit of a rocky road the first couple weeks? Do you keep reminding them or do they do it completely on their own? The children aren't sure how to do their jobs, need help with them, lots of reminding, etc. I feel like maybe this is to be expected, as we all kind of settle into a new routine. Did you experience this?

This thing is not easy.  You bet it’s normal to have a little bit of a rocky road here and there for months into this thing.  Especially if your kids are not pleasers and when they don’t care that much about money and after vacations, etc.  And it’s tough to be sure they are really trained at EXACTLY what you expect in a zone that just says “family room” for instance.  But that’s where the real parenting comes in.  Putting up a few charts and telling kids they need to do them is easy.  The whole process of training is the important, real-deal thing.  It’s hard, but it’s exactly what our kids need to grow up and become contributing members of society. 

Dave and I have tried weeks where we remind incessantly.  And other weeks try a new strategy of not saying a word.  We’re still just trying to figure out what works best.  Here’s how our job charts looked as of last night:

2013-01-11 untitled 67662(enjoy that trash can right behind there…)

As you can see, not to mention any names, but some kids are much more on-the-ball than others :) 2013-01-11 untitled 67664

Some weeks are different from others for different kids (Elle’s usually more on top of it than she has been this week…).  But I guess to me that’s ok because it’s the consistency that is going to pay off.  And the fact that Dave is strict.  He enforces that every day has to have our initials on it and that it should be done that very day instead of at the end of the week.  I have obviously messed up that plan because I’m the “mercy” lady who sees them working hard during the week and don’t want them to get their motivation knocked out of them at the end and not pay them just because they forgot some signatures.  But that’s a problem because now the kids aren’t sure what the real rule is on that part so we need to buckle down and figure that one out.

So we’re still working out the kinks.  But we have been pretty good at being consistent with “pay day” each week (Christmas was obviously out).  The kids who do their stuff have money in their wallets.  The ones who don’t, don’t.  And there are times they get pretty sad about that little fact.

My other question is about my 6 year old, she reminds me a little bit of your Lucy. She is having a harder time with the whole thing. Yesterday she said, "I choose not to do my zone tonight." What do you do in that situation? What if the money at the end of the week isn't motivating to them?

This is how Lucy’s job chart looks most weeks:

2013-01-11 untitled 67663

Yeah, I know some six-year-olds with very devoted parents can be perfect at this, but we’re easing Lu into this thing.  She knows it’s there, and sometimes she reminds ME she has to do her zone before bed.  Sometimes she refuses to do anything.  But I see it as a work in progress and that’s ok.  The more she sees her older siblings doing it, the more she will join in.  And the more her mother helps her, the more she’ll get it.  I’m being patient with myself, and with her.

If they’re not as motivated about earning money as you want them to be, maybe have them pay for more.  They need to need that money (for clothes, outings, etc.).

Also, do you let them make that missing check mark up? I kind of feel like the missing check marks should not be allowed to be made up when it's a conscious decision to not do the work.

We’ve found that if they want the money, they want those check marks.  If they deliberately miss one, they’re probably missing more than one so too bad, so sad for them.  We let them make up ONE because it’s almost impossible to be perfect.  And that’s one of my favorite parts because that’s when they’re motivated to memorize our quotes or poems for the week (more about that back here).  Here’s Grace and Claire with one we memorized a little while ago:

(Thank you SO much for all the suggestions on poetry back there on that post…I have bought a few of the book suggestions and I’m LOVING them.)

Where did you get the GREEN CHAIRS at your kitchen table????

World Market and I adore them.  2013-01-10 untitled 67648Four of our other black ones fell apart and the other ones were literally hanging on by a thread and I had had my eye on these green ones for a while.

Oh man, they are so comfy and easily-cleanable and make sitting at dinner so much nicer.  2013-01-10 untitled 67650

(Some day we will get a table that matches them better…or I will paint this one.)

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