Let me start by saying that today has NOT worked out as I had planned. It’s Tuesday which is officially my day off as both the Lord and the General are usually at school. Unfortunately, the winter bug has finally found our house and floored the both of them.
So, I have cancelled my plans to ‘do lunch’ and instead have endured hours of seemingly endless episodes of twatty pigs, thick as pigshit dogs in uniform and talking cars.
For some brief respite, I dragged them (literally kicking and screaming) to the garden centre (my new place of solace) and tried to engage them in something other than the TV. It was going fairly well in the potato section and I was positively smug by the time we reached the houseplants. Oh, what an utter tit-head I am! Smug?! Have I learned nothing in the last four years of parenting?! Pah!
You see, very cleverly the dreamboats in the garden centre put the toy section (never quite sure what wooden train tracks and bouncy balls have to do with gardens, but hey ho!) right by the tills. While I am paying up, the rest of my young tribe are entertaining themselves amongst the hand puppets and overpriced-utterly-boring-but-nice-to-look-at wooden puzzles when I hear an excited “MUUUUUMMMMMMYYYYYYY, I NEEEEED this…”
The Lord produces a wooden fire set for his train track and declares that Fire Fighter Flynn is cold and NEEEEEDS this to keep warm (huh?!) I gently (because I’m in public) remind him that he has lots of train track and doesn’t need more. Cue the tantrum, cue the tears, cue the high-pitched wailing usually only associated with sonars. After TEN minutes, I finally console him by promising to set up some sort of chores for pennies scheme so he can save up and buy the godforsaken fire train another time.
Ballbags, my dilemma is now a real one and could potentially have long lasting repercussions on us all! Have I just inadvertently set up a pocket money system at the tender age of four? In a nutshell, yes!
According to reliable sources [Google] it appears that pocket money is yet another contentious parenting issue that divides us and puts a price on our heads.
One camp argues that giving kids pocket money too young makes them too responsible too quickly. Others think that the earlier kids learn about money, the better.
Then there’s the whole paying kids to be well behaved debate. Should you reward manners and respect with payment; or should it just be expected?
And don’t even get me started on how much money kids should get at what age! One mama thought £5 a week for a two year old was reasonable (that’s was two hour’s pay at my first job aged 14!)
Well, here’s where I’m at with it all (judge away, I’m so tired I couldn’t give a flying coitus right now!)
- In our house, manners and respecting others are expected but not rewarded
- Tidying up at the end of the day is also expected; however I’m not adverse to a little incentive being offered to speed the whole painful process up
- Treats are already earned here. Having a fussy eater, I have tried every method of encouragement and like it or hate it, a nice pudding incentivises my guys to eat better
The introduction of ‘pocket money’ will be a visible rewards system. Taking inspiration from my friend’s communication board for her autistic boy, I plan to create a variety of ‘chores’ that the two boys can pick from each day. They will be able to ‘earn’ up to 10 stars a day which will equate to a monetary value at the end of the week (this is still TBD with Mr. British Maple tonight!)
This is one helluva commitment though. The Lord forgets NOTHING and has a proven track record for relying on such visual trackers (he has an awesome timetable at preschool to map his days and reduce anxiety). Part of me hopes it works and we go back to buy the fire station but in reality, I think it’s more likely that i will just change garden centres and find a shitload of coins squirrelled around the house!
What’s your take on pocket money? I’d love to hear your thoughts!