I have two boys. They are 6 and 7 years old. This month we decided to introduce pocket money to both of our kids. Here’s why:
I blame the tooth fairy
Since the tooth fairy has been trading teeth for gold coins, my 7-year-old has become more and more interested in the value of money. When he lost his first tooth we went to the two dollar shop with his gold coin and he soon realised that not everything in the shop is two dollars! He was gutted when the things he really wanted were $6, or.. crikey a whopping $10! After skulking around the shop looking at things, he finally chose a fluorescent pink, inflatable club. He was happy with his purchase, but sad when he had no money left. This was his first money lesson! Spend or save!
They have questions about money
My little monkeys have more of an interest in money and they have started asking more questions about how money works in the world. At the age of 6 and 7, they already realise money gives you opportunities and has its limitations. Whether it’s the reason why Daddy travels so much, the reason why we can’t go to England and see Grandma and Grandad, or what I am doing when they are at school. When the book club catalogue comes home from school, I’ve actually heard one of them shout, “NO! You can’t have that because Mum wants a new kitchen!”
They want to earn it
My 6-year-old is desperate to lose his first tooth so that he can start cashing in on the tooth fairies gifts too – but alas no luck yet. He’s been asking, “How can I get money?” Hmm. I really don’t want him to try knocking his teeth out! My 7-year-old has been painting rocks, making crafts and doing colourings. He’s been pricing them at $5 each and he set up a stall in the middle of the dining-room. I’m glad that he is very enterprising – but it won’t be until he feels ok about lowering his prices and spends more than 2 minutes on each creation that he’ll have the patience to go to market.
Coins fascinate them
Do you remember how excited you were when you were a kid and an old, wrinkly relative gave you a gold coin?! I certainly do. I could put up with my face being squeezed if the reward was cash for my piggy bank! My kids love the way coins feel in their hands; cold and shiny. They are in awe at the designs stamped on them and are amazed that they bronze, silver and gold. “How are they made?” “Where are they made?” “Why do different countries have different coins?” they ask. They even found some Aussie dollars and UK pounds in the ‘man drawer’ which they have now claimed.
They love mathematics – especially counting
“I’m Rich!” they scream with excitement after counting their coin stash. After being at school for a year or two they know how to count and understand basic addition and subtraction. Imagine how puzzled they are that each coin has a different value! It’s not just 1,2, 3 it’s… “hang on 10c, 50c, $1 – what the heck?” Sadly, they’ve realised they aren’t rich when they have 10 x 10 cents – boo!
I want to teach them about money
How can they learn about the value of money when we live in a cashless society? I want them to see money, hold it, touch it, learn to save it and then spend it (if they want). I very rarely carry cash so the kids don’t see it. In fact, I just pull out another plastic card. On the bus, at the pool, the library, the supermarket and of course – Kmart! I press a few buttons and we go home with bag loads of stuff. I have explained how the bank looks after my money and the EFTPOS machine takes money out of my bank account – but they don’t get what they can’t see. They just keep asking me for this, and that, and this and… now I can say, “NO, it’s $20! Do you want to spend your pocket money on it?” It makes them stop and think.
Chores get done when there is a reward
This takes me back to what I said above. They want to earn it! If they don’t get money at school, then when do they get it? Asked my 7-year-old. I really didn’t want him to start robbing my bedside table (who knows what he’d find in there!) and my purse, so I suggested to my husband that maybe it was time to introduce pocket money. We’ve had a star chart for a few years and when they were aged 3-5 it was a success, but then the arguing, answering back and the selective listening really kicked in. It was starting to get exhausting keeping them on task. Then, we introduced pocket money… and it really is amazing how much less I am shouting at them.
Take your kids to your work, talk to them about where you go and what you do to earn money. Explain that because you work, you can pay for things like food, clothes, petrol and don’t forget birthday presents!
I hope you enjoyed reading my mum blog! Come back in a couple of weeks for my next blog: Pocket Money – Part 2. I’ll cover: how we introduced pocket money, how much my little monkeys get, how it works for us and what they do with it. You can follow LittleMonkeys on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks!