Recently, Maia started reading chapter books. I’ve been encouraging her to try reading something which she didn’t have to finish within five minutes but, until recently, she still preferred to read her Charlie and Lola or her library books, ignoring the thicker books piling up on her bookshelf.
nagging encouragement, she decided she would buy (using her own money) a Geronimo Stilton book, which seem to be all the rage on the islands right now. I was thrilled, even though I end up re-reading to her each chapter she would have already read so she can understand the puns and little jokes with which the book is littered. Then she bought a Little Stars book, again using her own money. Then we happened to be in a bookshop again and she bought a couple of pens she liked. Then, yesterday, she used the last of her purse money (which is usually given to her by doting grandparents whenever they visit) to buy Robin a bath book and two markers for herself, because five pencil cases bursting with pens and markers are not enough.
It took me a while, but yesterday I realised that she needs to start understanding the value of money. Sure, she knows that a Euro is made up of a hundred cents and can confidently buy items and pay for them herself, spreading her coins on the shop counter and counting them out while the sales assistant waits patiently. What she doesn’t seem to understand is that, in life, we need to work for our money. Well, most of us do and unless she opts to become a kept lady (banish the thought!), she’ll eventually have to work for her own money too.
So I decided to start putting her enthusiasm (on a good day) to help around the house to good use. Most days, out of boredom I’m sure, she begs me to let her help me cook or wash the floor or do other chores she considers to be fun. I have to admit I’m not good with letting go and allowing her to help. I like the floors washed properly, with all the crumbs collected. I clean the kitchen while I’m cooking. I always end up redoing whatever she does and I hate that because it reminds me of when I was a child her age. I remember clearly begging my mum to help her dust the furniture, only to have her go over whatever I’d have done, putting her statuettes and ornaments back in exactly the same spot she usually put them. I felt like a failure each time and I realise that I’m doing the same mistake with Maia.
So, in a bid to instil more confidence in my little helper and also teach her she doesn’t need to squander all her money on books (something I secretly approve of, having done the same throughout my twenties), I’ve put a price tag on a few chores I’m ok with letting her help me with. Her reaction was one of outrage at her ‘salary’ being less than a Euro for most chores. As I said, she needs to learn the value of money…
Do you reward your children with money (or in some other way) when they help around the house? What are your thoughts about using money as a reward? I was never rewarded for doing chores so I don’t know if I’m doing it right!