How in the world do you start talking money with your kids? We feel you first have to introduce delayed gratification and responsibility to them. How do you do that? Well let me tell you what we did.
You are constantly presented with opportunities to introduce delayed gratification and responsibility to your cuties as they grow. The first time I really think you can introduce both concepts is during potty training. I remember having a bag of dum dum pops here. Cutie #1 went #1 on the potty she got a sucker.
Then we introduced the star chart. Every time she went potty she got a star, then when she went 5 times and put her 5 stars on the chart she got a sucker. Then we had the dry all day goal, she stayed dry all day and then she got to go pick out big girl undies. (Yes she still earned her stickers and suckers.) Then when she went a week without using a pull-up she got to go get another pack of big girl undies. See what is going on here. We made a goal and we worked together to get there and she was rewarded, but not instantly. Therefore she learned the concept of delaying gratification.
Both of our cuties were under 2 when we started the potty dance. I think that because we gave them a goal to focus on they were able to potty train very quickly. And no we did not force potty training on them, but we did encourage it and those dum dum pops and star stickers sure did help.
Once we achieved the potty goal, we had to have a new goal, so I bought a Responsibility Chart. We started small with easy things like using your manners and picking up your toys. On Sundays the chart was wiped clean and we would introduce new responsibilities. On Sunday before we cleared the board, we would look and count smiles. If the cutie earned 10 smiles or more during the week, she earned a trip to the Treasure Box. For every multiple of 10 she earned a treat. So if she had 20 smiles she got 2 treats from the box. In other words the more she earned, the more she was rewarded. Get it? The harder she worked, the more she earned.
"Ohhhh the Treasure Box, what's that?" Many of our cuties' friends have been inside the Treasure Box. It is only available to children who are helpful and kind. I always extended the Treasure Box option to friends who were responsible, polite and helpful while visiting our home. It helped me not have to clean up all sorts of messes after cutie play time. (Every Momma knows exactly what I am talking about here.)
What is the Treasure Box? It is an old filing box I had that I dumped suckers, smarties and various little things into (think party favors, oriental trading, or the Target dollar section during 75% off time). We kept it very simple and affordable and fun.
In their book, Dave and Rachel suggest that you can start paying your children commission as young as 3. I agree that is totally accurate for some households, but not accurate for this one. I can tell you in this house our cuties would have rather had the Treasure Box then have cash. Cash would have been lost in the room somewhere or even ripped up during play time. So for this house the cash option wasn't an option during the early years.
I truly think that you have to do what works for your home. Every house operates differently. The important thing to get out of all of this is that you have to start talking about money with your kids yesterday. If they are too little to understand money, then introduce them to the concepts of delayed gratification and responsibility. If you develop those concepts then they will be more prepared for handling money when the time comes.
When does that time come?! I'll share when we did what here on my next post. ;)