Parents who find themselves participating in negative interactions, whether they started it or not, can reverse this trend by “doing a 180.” Another way of saying this is “do the opposite” of what parents are currently doing and not finding very effective. If, for instance, the parent discovers that they raise their voice with a particular child over a specific issue during a peculiar time of the day, then that parent can try “doing a 180.” Instead they can strive to lower their voice, change the issue, or discuss it at a different time of day. Or, if a parent finds that they tend to be more tired and grumpy at the end of the day or their child more moody in the morning, try reducing the overall interaction with that person during that time. Use humor by putting up a storm warning sign on the refrigerator or a grumpy person crossing sign in the hallway. Parents can try doing the opposite of what they would normally do in a given situation and break the stronghold that the negative scripts have on the family. “Doing a 180,” introduces a novel stimulus to a negative situation and thereby reverses its negative course. While these three techniques won’t change every family story, they will redefine the roles parents are playing on the stage of their own life and allow them to find more enjoyable parts to play. Taking the lead role in the family is crucial if parents are to rewrite their family scripts. A bit part or standing on the sidelines is not the place for parents who want more than a small part in a comedic tragedy called “My Family.” Take direct action and change your roles and your family story.
Spending money! The perfect setup for real-world learning and natural consequences!
There are many methods for giving kids an allowance — tied to chores, tied to age, bonuses-for-extra-work, etc. How (or if) one gives an allowance is rooted in one’s family culture, and doesn’t lend itself to pat directives. But, no matter how you decide to give your kids an allowance, I find the key to increasing its power as a teaching tool is to put your kids in charge of how they spend their money.
Putting buying decisions in my kids’ hands has done wonders for their money savvy, consumer awareness, and math skills. Specifically:
- Addition and subtraction (“How much to I still have to earn to buy x? How much will I have left if I buy y?”)
- Percentage (“Hey, Mom! Museum members get 10% off in the gift shop!”)
- Fractions (“Hey, Mom! X is on sale for half price!”)
- Decimals (dollars and cents)
- Quality vs. value (“It’s cheap, but it might break the second time I use it.”)
- Needs vs. wants…or wants vs. other wants (“I want that video game, but maybe I should save my money for an iPad 2.”)
- Long-term goals (“I want to buy a car when I get my license.”)
A few key details make this strategy work:
Allowance must be big enough to be meaningful.
I got two bucks a week when I was a kid, but it was more of a token payment than anything else. We pay our kids an allowance equal to their age. Half goes to “spending money,” and half goes to “long-term savings” which they get when they move out. They choose what to do with money they receive for jobs or gifts (spend it all or save part of it).
If they ask, I also “cash out” gift cards. That is, if they receive a store-specific gift card but would prefer the cash, I buy it from them, knowing it’s a matter of time till I shop at that store myself.
We choose not to formally tie allowance to chores or work, except for specific jobs such as lawn mowing or washing the car. For us, changing the context from “family responsibility” to “cash for work” decreases teamwork and increases conflict and loophole-finding.
We no longer buy treats and trinkets.
This is essential. No more lollipops in the checkout line. No more cheap toys. The only way kids learn to assess value is to pay for impulse purchases themselves.
This also goes for “upgrades” to purchases we cover. For example, we have a certain budget for school clothing. If our kids want the too-expensive pair of shoes (or whatever), they kick in the extra.
We advise our kids on purchases if they ask, but we don’t judge what they buy.
My kids decide what’s valuable to them. Beyond the most basic guidelines (nothing unsafe or offensive), they can buy whatever they want with their own money. Sometimes they buy candy or crap toys, but rarely…they decided early on it’s a waste of money.
We track allowance and spending electronically.
The roadblock we kept hitting was the actual handling of cash. We never had proper change when it was allowance time (or we’d forget to pay it). Someone would forget their wallet, or forget to put their money in the wallet, etc. We’d buy stuff for the kids, forget to get paid back…you get the picture.
An iPhone app solved the problem: Kiddy Bank. This simple app is little more than a smart ledger, automatically adding allowance each week, with the ability to debit for purchases and credit for earnings and gifts. We’ve created separate spendings- and savings “accounts” for each of the kids, as their allowances and savings rates are different. The app is not connected to an actual bank account, so no money actually moves around.
So there you have it…our allowance strategy. I’d love to hear what’s working for you.
Ron Huxley’s Remembrance: I remember getting $1 every Sunday, as a child, for my allowance. I would walk my brother and sister down to the corner market and we would spend that dollar. I would get three comic books and a chocolate malt. The day the comic books went from twenty-five cents to thirty-five cents was devastating for me. I had to make an important decision. Did I buy one less comic book or skip the malt? I ended up getting one less comic book.
This was math for me as a child. The ideas in this article can help you teach some simple life skills to your child as well. It covers some of the common obstacles and manipulations that might come up.
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Toddler’s can be the most finicky little people when it comes to just about anything; especially when it comes to eating! Parent’s are always trying to find fun, innovative ways of introducing new foods to the family menu. In this article I will be providing a few fun tips for letting your kids be the kitchen “Sous Chef” so to speak.
I’ve found that introducing new vegetables, colors and just about anything that doesn’t resemble a piece of chicken or slice of pizza is the most difficult task when trying to get my toddler to eat new things. A new game we’ve started together is—
The Calendar/Alphabet Game
Make a large calendar for the month and for each day have your children write a different letter of the alphabet on the calendar. For example, Monday “B”, Tuesday “M” etc … On Monday you and your children choose a new fruit, vegetable, dairy or grain that starts with the letter “B” to incorporate in the meals and snacks for that day. There is no limit to the many ways that the new foods can be added either. If you choose Broccoli for the new vegetable, liven it up a bit … have it as a snack, cold with their favorite dip or chopped up in a homemade cheese omelette for breakfast. Our favorite so far is “Y”, we made the best mixed fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt parfait with granola for dessert which followed our Yellow Squash Lasagna. It is very important to have your children involved in the prep work for each of the meals/snacks. It gives them a chance to connect with the food and learn to be creative. They’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when they finally sit down to enjoy the food that they never thought that would!
I’m a stay at home mom so my kids are almost always at home with me. to break the ongoing cabin fever that plagues young kids I try to implement atmosphere changes as frequently as possible, which leads me to my next tip—
The Color Wheel Picnic
This can be done as often as your schedule allows and it really is a lot of fun! On the same calendar that you use for the calendar game, put a star on a few days a month that you’d like to have a picnic, whether it is at the neighborhood park, your backyard, or in your family room on a rainy day.
Now have your child pick their three to five favorite colors for that day. Write down the colors and together go into your refrigerator and/or pantry. Find fruits, snacks, fresh vegetables, cheese/dairy and whole grains that match those colors and pack them into your picnic basket, have fun with your kids sampling all of the fun and colorful foods. Remember to bring a camera to document all of the colors that you’ve created with the food and take pictures to pin to your calendar so that you can remember just how yummy it all was!Along with creating fun and healthy meals with your kids, getting in enough physical activity is essential to their growth and what better way to connect eating healthy with staying fit. My next tip shows you how to help your toddler burn off some energy while getting your daily exercise in as well. I recommend spending at least thirty to forty-five minutes per day of physical activity— The Final Countdown
Who doesn’t know the saying “no pain no gain”? Well, who says you can’t have fun too? Countdown consists of combining a little math with a little exercise. Before starting remember, stretching is always important so do a few minutes of leg and body stretches with your children. Now, choose a number from one to five, for instance your child chooses the number “four”.. start off with doing four sets of four sit ups together. Remember to have them count along with you that would have been a total of 16 sit ups. When finished have them choose another number, “five” now do five sets of five jumping jacks, twenty-five in all. Once you’ve finished all numbers one to five reward yourselves with a nice cold smoothie or your favorite treat! These are just a few, fun, nutritious, and healthy tips to share with your children. Keep an eye out for more fun topics to come very soon! Via http://www.divinecaroline.com/22107/118457-fun-ideas-expanding-toddler-s-menu/2#ixzz1YmdjP5uW
This article shares a growing trend of parents spending way too much on their children for items that seem like it is more about “fitting” in that based on need. I know as a grand parent I am guilty of this but hey, let the grand parents pay for the high tech toys and mom and dad stick with the quality time (as opposed to the video time).