Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Money Matters

Scene: Daddy and little boy come to pick up mummy from the subway station.

LB: Why does mummy need to work?

Mummy: Because we need money to eat.

LB: Why do you eat money?

On another day, in another part of town, the same mummy has a conversation with another child.  This one, not quite as endearing.

My older daughter is into Rainbow Loom.  She asked for it sometime in September. It is apparently THE thing to have if you're a little girl right now.  A contraption that allows you create all kinds of jewellery using little elastics.  I didn't run out and get it for her.  I said we would think about it.  And after thinking about it I said I would get it for her for Eid.  I've never seen a child look so happy.  I would have prefered she got one of those friendship bracelet kits that use thread - in my mind, thread is a little more environmentally friendly.  I can just imagine landfills filled with these mini neon elastics discovered by scientists of the future who would wonder, "what on earth did people use these for?"  But I digress.  I got it for her.  And she's loved it.  It's a creative outlet for her.  She's been making bracelets and necklaces and teaching her little sister how to make them too.  But now, she needs more elastics.  I got her a couple of refill packs but told her she'd need to save up for more if she wanted.  "But Mummy," she said, "How do I save up?  How do you get money?"

Well I obviously didn't think this through.  So I offered to give her pocket money so that she can save up.  A good skill to have.  But again, not thinking, I offered to pay her a quarter (25 cents) if she gets up every morning and does her morning routine without whinging and on her own.  "That includes making your bed and making sure your bag is packed for school."  She figured out it would take 24 days to earn enough for refills.  Too long apparently.  So I said (again not thinking) that I would give her another quarter for the evening routine.  We made a list of things she has to do after school.  If she does them, she gets a quarter.  So far it's been going great.  In fact I would say the nagging has decreased exponentially.


Except I never wanted to tie money to chores or things you have to do just for being part of the family.

Except that I forgot to talk about the charitable aspect of earning money.  You know - save some, spend some and share some?

I now have to re-evaluate.  Is 50 cents a day too much for 7 years old?  How do I introduce the concept of giving?  How do I ensure that she learns about money but at the same time learn that being part of a family means that you have responsibilities (that aren't necessarily attached to money)?

Agh.  The perils of leaping before thinking.

No comments:

Post a Comment