Claire went to REI with Chris last week and she was pretty excited about the whole thing for reasons I’m not quite clear on. But, whatever, she was leaving the house and I didn’t have to go so…WIN! She had two dollars in her purse (that had been there for a while) and she decided she was going to take her “monies” with her and buy some binoculars.
Yes. Binoculars. She had seen a miniature version in an American Girl catalog she rescued from the recycle bin, (“Mommy! WHY IS THIS IN THE TRASH?”) and decided she wanted some too. (That catalog really IS the root of all evil, isn’t it?)
Anyway, Claire wanted to use HER monies to buy some binoculars, which was very adorable all on its own, so we had a chat and set some expectations before they left about how they could LOOK at/for binoculars but maybe they would not have any for kids at REI, and even if they DID, they might cost more than $2 and in that case Daddy would take a picture of the binoculars and make note of how much they cost and she could come home and earn some more money over time to buy what she wanted. She would have to SAVE all her monies.
Sure enough, the cheapest binoculars at REI cost $60. Chris had to tell her, “Well, you need $58 more dollars to buy those.” Claire looked at a different set, “What about those? How much are those?” “Um, you need $197 more to buy those.” She understood they were out of her price range, admired them through the glass, and were on their way.
Claire burst into the door just FULL of information about how much more money she needed to earn and how much FUN it was at REI and how Charlotte had not behaved AT ALL and could I please find her some jobs so she could earn more monies?
Oh, of course I can, sweetheart! I have an UNLIMITED SUPPLY of odd jobs for you!
Now. You might be the kind of parent that doesn’t believe in paying your child to do chores, instead subscribing to a “everyone who lives here should do certain things simply because they are a member of this family” work/chore philosophy, and that’s super (and perhaps your children are older anyway and capable of doing complex chores correctly in exchange for a regular allowance or something like that), but I am so totally not above paying my 4-year-old to do things that will make my life momentarily easier. SO NOT ABOVE THAT. (Especially at nine-months-pregnant.)
The other day Claire folded all of the towels in the dryer, put them away and she was SO INCREDIBLY ELATED when I rewarded her with twenty-seven cents. (Of her own request! I didn’t OFFER to pay her for this, it was all her idea.) And the hilarious thing is, Claire doesn’t really have that much concept of money. She’s much more interested in five pennies than a dollar bill, because five is clearly better than one. It’s definitely a LOOSE system of valuation that she maintains and honestly, half the time she puts all her monies from the day back in the change jar to be re-earned at some other point. She’s terrible at keeping her monies in one spot and letting it add up.
I definitely ask her to do things WITHOUT pay, frequently, (picking up toys, her clothes, her dishes) and she does those under threat of time-out/loss of privileges, but if she brings up wanting to do some jobs that are outside her normal chores? Oh, I will totally give her a dime to make my bed for me. Two dimes, even!
(Also, I enjoy hearing her say “some monies.” I think that’s cute.)