Last year we fell into some pretty bad habits. One that grated against my nerve and my sanity the most was that every time we would go out we found ourselves drowning in the voices of two boys, in chorus, constantly asking for something. ‘Mum can I have this? Can I have that? A new Lego minifigure? It’s only five dollars!’ The rinse and repeat cycle that would happen while at the toy shop, the book shop or even the supermarket was not the worst part. The worst part was that hubby and I let it happen.
It was a vicious cycle that we only allowed to get worse. So much so, we ended the year with two boys falling into a heap of anxiety, tantrums and tears if we left the house and didn’t come home with something. Habits like this can fester into serious problems later in life. Not to mention all the issues of expectation, perception, reality and the bitter dose of parent guilt that had seeped in. So a new year was seized upon as the perfect opportunity for a new start.
‘No more toys boys. No more little things. No more anything.’ We drummed it into them, the rinse and repeat cycle had changed chorus and now we were doing all the talking. They seemed to understand. They seemed happy to accept that it was important to spend money wisely and to save our money more than we spent it. That is when the idea of pocket money was born.
Hubby and I decided that each boy would be assigned a set of chores to do each week and in exchange they would receive a small amount of pocket money for that week. Now as much as I would love for them to cook dinner and mop the floors, they are only seven and five, so the chores will be something they can manage and do on their own. We are thinking: make your bed in the morning, collect all the clothes for washing and place them in the laundry, empty the bins on Sunday and be responsible for their lunch box and water bottle from school. But we are still working on it and hope that from this list in years to come we can only grow their chores and responsibilities so that maybe as teenagers they can be in charge of dinner one night a week and iron their clothes.
The flip side to the chores is the pocket money and the boys are very curious and excited about the idea of being given their very own money to spend as they wish. So far the only talk is of how many Lego minifgures they will be able to buy. But that is something we want to work on too. Hopefully as the year unfolds we can help them understand how important it is to save their money and perhaps buy something a little more than a Lego minifigure.
The world of pocket money and chores is unchartered territory for us. But even in its infancy it is already a welcome change to the whining and bickering of last year. Even better still, some of this change in behaviour is starting to rub off on me. I am being more mindful of my impulsive buys and my compulsion to have everything. The new space we are in feels much lighter and is slowly filling with the energy that was sapped from us, one purchase after another, last year.
Are pocket money and chores part of your family?
Do you fall victim to impulsive buys?
Disclosure: Pocket Money was written in collaboration with John Hughes, your local Hyundai dealer, trading with integrity and determined to give their customers the very best of service. All opinions expressed are my own.