Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hunter's Allowance

Fred and I decided that it was time for Hunter to receive an allowance in return for his help with chores around the house. And let me tell you, Hunter is so on board with this.

I took an empty mason jar and labeled it as his allowance jar. I created a list of chores that he could easy help with around the house. He gets a penny for everyone that he does. We've been doing this for a few days and he loves it. He actually does things without being asked and then tells me about them when he's done. Today, he asked to do laundry. And he was excited that he got to make his bed again after his nap. His enthusiasm is so refreshing!

We also decided to use this as a motivator for good behavior. There are some days that we seem to be locked in an endless cycle of pointless time-outs. Time-outs were just not working for us. But, now, anytime Hunter does something wrong (and after a couple warnings), we take a penny back and he has to re-earn it. It happened a couple times the first day, but not since then. Money is a serious motivator for this kid.

There are some pros and some cons that we can see to this system. First off, we like it because it teaches Hunter that he has to work to earn money - no free rides. Second, it teaches counting, addition, and subtraction. Third, we'll use it to teach monetary values as well - exchanging pennies for dimes, nickels, quarters etc. Fourth, it will teach him the principle of tithing and saving. Once a month, we'll count his money, set 10% aside for tithing and 10% into savings.

The down side to this, is that I worry that it is causing Hunter to focus to much on money. But, hopefully we'll be able to counter this in other ways. I hope that we'll be able to find enough other teaching moments that help him learn that life is not about money. Things like service projects, donations, homemade items, spending money on experiences and not things etc. I also worry that he'll expect to be paid for everything. So, we'll have to work with that as well.

So far, we really like the system that we've come up with. I'm sure that it will evolve over time as we move our way up the parental learning curve. But, for right now it is working great.

I share this, and other kid tips, not to brag or draw attention to myself, but simply to help others out. There are so many ways to parent and it is hard to find what works best for your family and each individual kid. I know that I enjoy when I just happen to stumble upon a great idea in a book, magazine, or in talking with a friend. So, I share these things with you, hoping that you'll be able to find inspiration to use in your own families. Parenting is a hard biz, and we should all help each other out. I'm simply trying to share my ideas, so that, perhaps, I might be able to help others be the best parents they can possibly be.

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