Pay Your Children in Their Currency


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childrenTeaching children about money can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. One thing that I have learned from raising my boys is that I need to pay them in the currency that they desire and understand. To clarify, Grayson understands money. He has been able to figure simple sales tax since he was 5 and he knows what it means to work for a dollar. He understands that he needs to save. He understands that he needs to make good decisions with his spending money. He understands that he is going to be 16 in just 6 more years and will probably want a car.

Landon, on the other hand, doesn’t really have a clue. In Landon’s world, everything is Angry Birds. He doesn’t care about money at 6 years old. He cares about tablet apps and Angry Birds plush animals that he can use to re-create said smartphone apps in real life. Grayson is a thinker. He is an analyst. Landon, is an artist. Just ask him. For Christmas this past year, Landon got a roll of butcher paper. He wanted to be able to roll it out on the ground and draw “without running out of paper”. Thus, the never ending roll of white paper.

Knowing these things about my boys helps me when it’s time to get work done around the house. If you have read my posts before, you know that  I have a contract with each of them. There are jobs that are required to be done around the house in order to live here. Things such as making their bed, picking up their clothes, keeping the play room clean and other small tasks are mandatory and come with no compensation. There are also tasks that will pay them. Washing my car, helping me pull weeds, cleaning up after Bentley in the back yard and loading the dishwasher for Annie are things that will pay them a “per job” rate. That rate is negotiated, stated in our contract and signed by both parties.

Then there are the “other jobs”. This week, we had a pretty hefty windstorm come through our street. It wasn’t quite a tornado but wasn’t far from it either. When I got home after work, I noticed all of the tree limbs that had been blown down all over the place. I had just spent the prior week getting the yard completely whipped into shape. I did not want to spend another minute doing yard work. Enter the boys. I had a job that needed to be done, they had wants and needs.

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Grayson wanted more video game time. He is limited to 1 hour of video games each day. Sometimes he plays with his friends online, sometimes he plays by himself. In any event, he gets 1 hour and 1 hour only. Grayson thought that picking up the limbs in the yard was worth 30 minutes of bonus video game time. Deal! I don’t know how he ran the numbers in his head, but he agreed to it and that was fine with me. Landon decided he wanted a new app for his tablet. The app was .99. The work took 1/2 hour. Deal! In other words, I got my yard cleaned up for .99 out of pocket and some video game time for Grayson.

Why does this work? It works because I have taught my boys that they need to work for what they get in life. I let them determine the price and then I rewarded them in their “currency”. I am sure that your children think differently. They have their own language that they speak. Have you learned it? By spending a few extra minutes during teachable moments, you can get the extra work around the house done for a steal while teaching your children financial responsibility and instilling a work ethic that they will thank you for later in life.


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