Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You Have to Earn It

You have to earn it seems to be the theme in our house lately. Buddy Bear is at a really good age for learning and understanding that everyone in our household has to work to make sure that certain jobs get done. So we have been teaching him that you have to work in order to earn things. In the case of chores, he works to earn his weekly allowance. In the case of video games, he has to read or do some sort of "school" work to earn playing time. This summer we have been doing a little bit of review work for school just to keep our skills sharp and also for the tutoring I do with the boys I watch during the summer. (Don't worry they have to earn their video game time too.) Buddy Bear is pretty excited to earn money for doing chores and it is nice to have someone helping me out with little things. The chores he does saves me a few minutes here and there, but the minutes do add up. Also there is no more fighting and asking him to do the same thing over and over, now he knows he has the choice of doing his chores, but if he chooses not to do them he doesn't get paid at the end of the week. Buddy Bear is pretty good about saving money so he does the chores without complaining. Along with earning money for his chores, we have been teaching Buddy Bear to use the envelope system. He has 3 envelopes - one for tithes, one for saving, and one for spending. He has to put 10% of his earnings in tithes and at least 10% into savings, the rest he gets as spending money. He can choose to put some of his spending money into savings or tithes, but that is up to him. Hopefully by teaching him to manage his money now at this age, it will set a pattern for him for later in life of managing his money properly. In the case of the video games, the boys have learned that if they want to play on the Wii, they are going to have to do some reading, spelling, or math. We enrolled in the summer reading program at our library and that helps encourage them to read, but really they know that if they want to play the Wii they will have to earn it. I give them one minute of Wii time for each minute of "school" time they do. So if they decide they don't feel like reading or participating in "school" activities they understand that they are also choosing to not be able to play the Wii that day. This has worked really well for me so far and everyone is okay with the arrangement. I like the fact that this also limits their video game time so they can't play it all day, not that they ever would be allowed to play it all day anyway. The whole "You have to earn it" theme started because it is important to us to teach our kids that everyone in the family has to help out to make the family run. We all have jobs to do each day and we want to be sure we are teaching our kids that these jobs don't just magically get done (oh, how I wish there was a super, duper housework fairy), but that someone has to do each job so that it is completed. We are also teaching our kids that when we work together to help each other out we end up with more family time where we can play together, go exploring together, or work together on something fun. I guess it is all about balancing it all out. Everyone wants to have fun, but we have to make sure we don't ignore the work just for the fun.

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