My kids just want to buy and spend money, but they don't know how to earn it. They only know how to ask for it. Did you say this phrase? Have you at least thought about it? Is this your situation at home with the children? All parents want to teach and transmit to our children the effort and value of money, but many do not know how or where to start. In this article I am going to tell you about a method known as The jug of opportunity that will help children learn to handle money and teach them a lesson for life.
The lesson consists of learn to think about production before consumption. This refers to understanding from an early age that, to consume, spend and buy, there is a previous cycle, which consists of the generation and creation of resources (including pay or allowance) and this is just what you want your children learn.
The jar of opportunities is a method that seeks to sow in the minds of our little ones the correct order of the money cycle for children from 3 to 12 years old approximately.
Completely homemade and without complicated materials, this method consists of filling a jar of popsicles They put activities to do at home or away from home, and another empty jar for each child.
The steps to prepare the jug are as follows:
1. Mom and Dad will choose the tasks appropriate to the age of their children
Some tips at this point: They should be tasks that add value to the home, that require some effort and that are not related to: values, school activities, hygiene habits and / or intrinsic responsibilities of the home.
Let me explain better, all children must collaborate at home without expecting a reward in return. As parents you will have to find valuable tasks at home or outside, adapted to the age of the children. Between 3 to 5 activities for each child will be a reasonable amount.
Write each of these activities on a popsicle stick.
2. Assign an economic value to each task
Next, we must assign a symbolic value to each activity, so that after a week they manage to gather a modest amount, but enough to buy a small candy or something else. A good example is 3 activities a week priced at $ 1 or $ 2 each (approximately 1 or 2 euros). It will be a total of $ 3 to $ 6 (3 to 6 euros) a week for each child.
Also write the value of the activity on his popsicle.
3. Together they will work on assembling their jars and placing them in a visible, high-traffic location in the home.
Use your imagination, colors, markers, decorations ... Everything is allowed. My son enjoys when his things are decorated with some superhero sticker and it works as a motivation.
Put all the popsicles on which you have written the activities in a jar or jar. Put your jug of opportunities in a room in your home that the whole family uses, so that it is clearly visible to all.
4. It's time to start
From the options available in the jar full of popsicles, each week each child in the family will choose activities to do. Once the task is completed and verified by mom or dad, he will pass the toothpick to the empty jar identified with his name. The activities are rotating and everyone chooses.
5. Once the activity is completed, it takes to remunerate it
After a week the previously empty jars will now be full with the activities carried out and their corresponding price. It's time for mom and dad to pay the kids' compensation. Without overpaying or underpaying, parents will pay their little ones only for the activities carried out and will not give more money from their livestock to buy wishes.
It is important to introduce and clarify here that parents meet the needs of children, while the little ones must finance their wishes through these activities. I mean, for example, candy, toys or those pink headphones or going to the movies with my friends on Friday afternoon.
Next I go on to detail some rules that will be helpful. Each family will establish its own rules, here are some of the most common ones:
- It is paid once a week. Even if the activity is completed on Monday or a specific day, the money will only be charged on the payday. Example: Saturdays.
- The tasks must be of value to the home and not only for the one who performs it. For example, making the bed is a duty that seeks to teach order and cleanliness and must be done without payment. On the contrary, ordering all the family groceries in the fridge or refrigerator once the family arrives from the market and keeping it in order each week is a more appropriate activity.
- For the tasks that are repeated daily, you can do 7 pallets with the same name and each day one, or a single palette is carried out and it is moved when it is achieved 7 times. An example of this is watering the garden, in my house we do it daily because we live in an area with a lot of sun.
- On every birthday you can raise the salary.
- Every 3 or 6 months the activities will be reviewed and roles of each child and tasks will be added, replaced or eliminated, making them more difficult or adjusting them to the needs of the home.
- The amount of money or payment must be symbolic but sufficient adapted to the age and wishes of the children. $ 5- $ 15 a week allows a child to have enough for an outing with friends at age 9 once a month or every fortnight.
- DO NOT give money when asked, because to earn money there is a system. Otherwise it would not make sense.
Here are some suggested activities that you can write on your popsicles. Remember that the tasks must be adapted to the age of the children.
- In children 3 to 5 years
We can propose activities such as picking up toys, putting dirty clothes in the basket, putting socks in pairs, helping to clean the table after eating (with parental supervision), collecting cans inside the house to recycle them, helping with carrying bags light from the supermarket, dusting the simplest areas ...
- For children 6 to 8 years
Examples of appropriate activities for children in this age range are: feeding pets, watering plants, folding laundry after washing, bringing mail home and distributing it, arranging clothes in their drawers or shelves, placing dishes on their place after being washed, packing your lunch box or preparing the food bag ...
- Activities for children from 9 to 12 years old
We could propose to these children: arranging or placing food in the pantry, ordering food in the refrigerator, sweeping and mopping or scrubbing the floors, helping to make dinner, mowing the grass or lawn, washing dishes, helping to change the beds, taking out the trash, cleaning the windows, filling the water jugs in the fridge ...
- What teens over 12 can do
To children over 12 years old we can propose all the above activities at home and some more such as: transcribing documents, cleaning the bathrooms, helping in the family business, carrying the grocery bags, cutting the neighbors' grass for a fee, walking dogs for a fee, selling desserts at school, babysitting (this task only for those over 15 and under supervision), vacuuming, creating your own business ...
With this method we will teach the connection between work and money and we allow children to have contact with money from an early age as an exchange of value. It is your responsibility to explain why some tasks are more valuable than others, based on the time and effort they require.
Some benefits that we find after several weeks applying this method:
- Contact with money allows them to learn to manage and save it.
- You cannot spend more than you have or you cannot even spend everything you have.
- Make good use of money and prioritize.
- The money they ask for and receive does not know the same as the money they earn.
- If you spend it all, you will understand that only by delivering value and waiting can you get more.
- Children will learn from their mistakes. For this you must comply with the established rules: if you have spent everything and must not do what you wanted, you will have to wait. With this you will prevent him from using his debts as an adult because he has not been able to wait.
Give it the shape you like, personalize the jars and make them fun and attractive. The most important thing is that your child learns to earn his first salary with his effort and courage given to the family. With this activity we will sow a healthy relationship with money through effort, the value given to others, and work.
You can read more articles similar to Jar of opportunities to teach the value of money to children, in the On-site Learning category.