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Archive for September, 2012

Non Monetary Rewards

September 25th, 2012 - Category: Money

Parents are so excited when their child finishes all of their chores.  But does the reward always have to be about money?  There are lots of rewards you can give your child that don’t have to cost you anything (or at least, not much).   Here are some ideas to consider.

Written Words:  A thank you note in their lunch.  A letter of appreciation left on their bed.  A posted note where everyone can see it.  Maybe on the fridge or the bathroom mirror.

Positive Attention:  Praise them in front of others.  Give them a Certificate of Recognition.

Time:  Give them some time off of chores.  Let them stay up half an hour later than usual.  Extra TV time, computer, or game time.

Parents:  Kids get to pick a family outing.  They get to pick a date with mom or dad.

Food:  Let them pick a meal.  They get to pick out dessert at the grocery store.  Give them the opportunity to pick the restaurant for dinner.

Favorite Things:  First dibs at their favorite toy or game.  They pick out the movie that weekend.  Have a treasure chest with inexpensive toys and snacks that they can choose from.

Friends:  Their friends get to come over for a play date or a sleepover.  Their friends get to come along for an outing.

When you use My Job Chart, kids really start to understand how to spend responsibly.  A point equals a penny and the more points add up, the more money they have to spend.

As kids earn points they are able to “spend” those points.  They can spend them by moving them to the SPEND category within My Job Chart.  The points can be spent on monetary rewards using our integrated store, or they can spend them on non monetary rewards like the ones mentioned above.

Once a reward is redeemed, our system will send you an email letting you know what they have decided to spend their points on.  If the reward is a non monetary reward, like the ones mentioned above, then it’s up to you to make sure it happens.

If you have other ideas for non monetary rewards, please feel free to leave a comment below.  And if you are looking for a way to easily manage your child’s chores.  Be sure to check out our free online chore chart at


Worth the Wait

September 18th, 2012 - Category: Budgeting

One of the first rules I learned about saving is that you need to have an end goal. Perhaps you are saving for a vacation, your child’s college, furniture, or a new house. Setting funds aside each month becomes a lot easier if you have a vision for where all that money is going.

The same is true of kids.

I want it NOW!

Like many adults, kids want immediate gratification. They go to the store, they see a pretty new ball, and they want you to buy it. Depending on their age, they may even throw a tantrum to let everyone in the store know that they want it and that you are failing to buy it for them.

But if we can strategically turn our “no” into a financial lesson, we make more progress than just firmly denying their new-found must-have.

The old visual tool

My mother used to bring home huge Sears and J.C. Penny catalogues and have me circle or cut out pictures of my must-haves. I’d sort my treasures into envelopes for birthday, Christmas, and earning. When Christmas rolled around, I’d sort through all of those visual reminders and decide what was still on my list and what had been a passing phase.

She would then sort through those must-have prizes and eliminate what she knew she would not buy for me. Then I knew that if I really wanted that new Rainbow Bright backpack,  I would have to spend my own hard-earned money for it. That is when the real question came—how much did I really want it? We weren’t talking about my parents’ money at this point. This was coming from my pocketbook.

Out with the old

Today, fortunately, we don’t need to waste quite as many trees. Now the kids can log onto Amazon and maintain a wish list. Parents can then add some of those wants to their child’s purchasing options on My Job Chart and the child instantly has something worth working for.

And, as a parent, you have accomplished several great things at one time including:

·      Validating that you heard your child’s request.

·      Respecting that request and making it possible for them to fulfill it themselves.

·      Encouraging their hard work without nagging.

A third grader’s dream

The thing that my daughter wanted most in life was a TV for her room. For some reason she believed it would make her 8-year-old life complete. While I wanted to roll my eyes, I instead took the opportunity to use this lust to my advantage.

She started saving, and then we went window-shopping so she could have a visual of what she wanted. The visual helped her. Since she had something she was working towards, she was willing to pass up an item at the dollar store to save for the TV. And when she got it, it was more meaningful than a gift because she had earned it.

It took her about three months to find another must-have, and she is now completely focused and intent on earning for it.

Compromise – It’s a Two Way Street

September 18th, 2012 - Category: General Parenting

Sometimes, in the realm of parenthood, the word compromise is thought of as a “bad” word.   The notion of relenting power to your child gives parents the idea of surrender and defeat.  Compromise doesn’t have to be all bad.  In fact, the very definition of compromise, is that everyone gets a little of what they want, not so everyone is upset, but so everyone is happy.

Children require our protection and guidance.  We can’t always come up with a perfect solution, but we can usually come up with a better solution, when we compromise.  When you are picking your battles here are some ideas to think about.

Offer them acceptable choices.  If your child’s idea of getting dressed is galoshes and a hero cape over last week’s pajamas, try having several acceptable choices set out that they can choose from.  Then they  have some control over what they are wearing, but it is still acceptable to you.  Depending on the events of the day, “Super PJ Man” may be suitable, but if not, giving them choices should alleviate some arguing.

Wait till later.  Sometimes you don’t have to say “no”, you just have to say “later”.  Their request to play video games doesn’t have to be turned down, just put off until after they finish their chores.

Not the whole thing.  You want them to eat their peas, but maybe a bite for every year of their age, or separating out a smaller amount for them to eat, would be more tolerable.

Specifics set beforehand.  Whether they can only have sleepovers on Fridays, or only eat the snacks in the yellow bin after school, or no friends until homework and chores are done, setting specifics beforehand helps to alleviate confrontations.  If something comes up and you need to compromise, then they have to be willing to give something up as well.  Setting chores up on is one way to set up your chores and not have to argue about them again.

Half and half.  They want to go to the skate park and you need to go shopping.  If you can’t divide and conquer, then spending half the day doing both may work for you.

It’s a family tradition.  There are some things that even you can’t change.  Let them know that it is just the way it is.  There is no need to complain, or whine, or try to get out of it, because it won’t make a difference.  Blame it on tradition if you need a scapegoat.

Some other strategies may include, reverse psychology, or just talking it over and trying to get them to understand your point of view and you trying to understand their point of view.  Every kid is different and every situation is different.  Compromise is an opportunity to give and take.  Remember if you want them to give, it helps if you give a little too.

Chores for Your Toddler

September 11th, 2012 - Category: Chores

Here at we are always asked at what age you should start giving your children chores, and what chores are appropriate for what age groups.  Today we’ll be discussing chores for toddlers.

Children of all ages can help with chores, and starting them off young ensures that they will grow up with the right attitude and willingness to help out.  Some children develop faster than others, but, in general, they follow a pattern of growth.

Some characteristics of a toddler may be:

Very Active – They like to jump, walk, and run even though they are still uncoordinated.

Gets tired quickly  - Cries easily and gets irritable when tired.

Short Attention Span –  Likes repetition.  Cannot reason very well.  Is curious.

Enjoys Pretending  - Likes stories and musical activities.

Is self-centered – Has difficulty sharing.

Wants to please adults – Needs their approval, love, and praise.  Wants to be close to adults for security.

When assigning a toddler chores you should keep the above characteristics in mind.  Your expectations should also be age appropriate.  Sometimes, parts of chores or modified chores are more realistic.  Turning chores into a game or singing a song while doing your chores helps sometimes too.  Here are some examples.

Get Dressed – If you are concerned about them matching, maybe you could set out 2 or 3 different outfits for them to choose from.

Brush Your Teeth

Make Your Bed – This is easier if the sheets or bedspread are tucked under the mattress at the bottom so all they have to do is pull the blankets up.

Pick Up Toys – Don’t expect them to sort and put things in different places, but they can put all the legos in the bin or all the books on the shelf.  Be specific.

Put Up Laundry – If their laundry is folded and sorted they can put the piles in their drawers.  They may even be able to help fold the dish towels.

Dust – They can wipe down the coffee table and other surfaces that are their size.  If you are worried about solvents and soaps, just have them use a rag with water or a wet sock on their hand.

Wipe Sink -  They can’t clean the whole bathroom, but with a stool they can wipe out the sink while you are cleaning out the bathtub.

Glass Door Cleaner – They can wipe the bottom half of the glass sliding door while you do the top half.  Again putting a sock on their hand may be easier for them than holding a towel.

Human Vacuum Cleaner – Have your little one crawl around and see what little treasures they can find.  If you have more than one kid, have them put their “piles” on the table and the one with the biggest pile gets  a prize.

Mommy’s Helper/ Daddy’s Helper – Whether it is getting mommy a diaper or putting something in the garbage for Daddy, ask for their assistance and then refer to it as the named chore.

In the end, when having your toddler do chores, don’t expect perfection.  Sometimes there will be a bigger mess when they are done than when they started.  But lessons will be learned and even if it takes more time now, the consistency of having them help around the house with chores will pay off in the end.

And lastly, If you want them to keep doing their chores, remember to praise them during and after for a job well done.


Learning while Playing Outside

September 4th, 2012 - Category: Video Games


We went camping as a family for Labor Day this weekend and after everyone put up their “technology toys”, I was reminded about what is so great about the outdoors.

The trip started with kids playing games on their Nintendo, listening to music on their Ipod, and texting on their phones.  There was a general complaining when we were out of internet and cell phone range and everyone’s batteries started running out.

That first night it was like pulling teeth to get everyone to help set up the tents and start a campfire and there were lots of complaints about how bored they were and how much they were missing face-book.  Attitudes didn’t change until the next day when someone found a lizard, and that’s all it took.

Off they were into the great outdoors.  They showed up briefly every now and then to get a drink or get a plastic cup to dig in the dirt with.

Their day consisted of making bridges, scaling rocks, and climbing trees.  I, on the other hand saw things differently.  I saw how they had to cooperate and work together to make the bridge.  I saw how they had to problem solve to figure out how to scale the rocks to get to the other side of the ravine.  I saw how they helped their younger siblings up when climbing trees that were a little too big.  I saw them living and growing as a family right before my eyes.

They played all day long.  I didn’t have to haggle over screen hours or ban them from certain games until their chores were done.  In fact, I had to bribe them back to camp after dark, with roasted marshmallows that evening.

The next day was similar and the fighting was no longer about who had the most points on their favorite video game but who had the longest scratch or the most dirt around their ankles.

Day four was when we had to leave.   Faces were drawn and the complaining had turned into “Why do we have to go home?  Can’t we stay here forever?”

There was still fighting when everyone had to clean out their tents and roll up the sleeping bags, but the fighting was a little different this time.  I noticed a little more working together, like on the bridge.  I noticed a little more understanding when folding up the tent, just like scaling the rocks.  I noticed a little more patience with their family and help given to their younger brothers and sisters, just like climbing the trees.

I guess I was blessed to grow up in an age when kids played outside more.  When the worth of my day was based on how dirty I was when I got home and the ring around the bathtub.  If my mother made me get undressed on the porch before I came in the house, that was a great day.  I’ve never regretted a day spent in the outdoors and I know my life has benefited in more ways than one because of it.  I hope my kids can say the same.