Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Quokka money

E has several money boxes and at various points (birthdays, Christmas etc) has been given money to put in them. She hasn't yet learnt the names/value of the different coins and notes, doesn't have any understanding of how much different things cost, and to date her only shopping has been with the toy cash register, plastic/paper money and pretend food. However, prior to our recent trip to Rottnest she begged to be allowed to take some the money from her money box "in case I see something I want to buy." I thought "why not" and so we stuck all the coins from her various money boxes (about $13) into a little hand bag and packed it amongst her clothes.

When we got over there she was desperate to spend up! Fortunately the general store had a range of souvenirs, toys and magazines as well as food and groceries. After deliberating at length (and lots of mental arithmetic on my part - "if you want the magazine and the magnet, you can't afford the pencil") she chose a quokka snow dome and a fridge magnet with a quokka on it. Surprisingly, she also elected to keep about $3 to spend another time. She was very pleased with herself and since returning home has insisted that anyone who enters the house admires her purchases, and took them to school for news.

D and I have been wondering for some time when we should start giving E pocket money and when we got home decided to take advantage of her sudden interest. We decided that pocket money is a reward earned in exchange for chores, and that the chores should be things that help the whole family, not just things she needs to do to get through a day such as getting dressed, brushing teeth, putting on shoes. We dithered over how much is an appropriate amount, and settled on $2 (maximum) per week. So we now have a chart on the fridge where we record the following:
  • Putting dirty dishes in the sink
  • Putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket
  • Sweeping under her and C's chairs after meals
  • Putting toys away
  • Dusting
The first four are worth 5 cents each time, dusting 15 cents (partly because if she dusts the whole house it takes longer, partly because we wanted to make the weekly maximum $2). We're nearing the end of the second week and so far the chart has been an extremely good motivator. In the first week she earned $1.65 and is on track to earn something similar this week. I detest sweeping under the table after meals and am very happy about only having to do that once or twice a day whilst E is at school! We haven't been to a shop since we started the new system, and I am not sure if finding out how much stuff costs will be a motivator or discouraging, seeing as she isn't going to be able to afford much for a while.

As to why it's "quokka money"? We're not sure if E misheard us, or if it's because she spent her money on quokka related items, but we think it's very funny and so haven't corrected her.

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