Can I have?
Can I have?
Can I have?
They can be some of the most draining and irritating words to leave the mouth of a child – scratch that – of anyone, of any age!
It’s just exhausting saying no, or yes, or reasoning why not now and maybe later…
This summer we went to Lake Windermere for a holiday for a week. We stayed near Bowness, which for those of you that don’t know, is quite a touristy part of the lakes and is full of shops selling… tat? Plastic stuff, bright coloured stuff, sugar covered stuff… do you know what I mean? Tat.
It seemed there were either ‘tat’ shops, ice-cream/donut shops or shops selling over priced Peter Rabbit toys. All of which seem to light up to kids and makes the words, ‘Can I have…’ come pouring out of their mouths.
Oh – and there was a fun fair… I didn’t mention the funfair.
It was on this very holiday, that I found myself at the top of my tree. I was four months pregnant and not sleeping well so maybe that added to me reaching my tolerance level for the aforementioned three little words. But I could take them no more. No more asking for things, no more saying no… I was rather… grumpy. And despite me trying to reason why all the time it just was not working.
Then – I had a brain wave. Of of those moments as a mother where I had an idea that might, maybe just work.
I gave the small ginger one a tenner.
Wait, what, huh?
Makes no sense I know. She moaned, so I gave her a tenner?
As holiday spending money.
We sat down together and explained about money and how things we want are treats not needs. We asked H what she thought was the right amount of spending money for a week’s holiday and she suggested £7. We said we’d give her £10 and she agreed. Of course!
We set the ground rules. Anything she needed or we did as an activity, we would of course pay for. However, anything she wanted, anything plastic, or brightly coloured or sugar infused was her domain. It was to come out of her holiday spending money.
We were all agreed.
I. Kid. You. Not.
The transformation was INSTANT!
I was flabbergasted and patting myself on the head for this brainwave almost instantly.
There was a stuffed, fluffy chicken she had been targeting her ‘wanting’ to for the first three days and all of a sudden she reasoned £4 was too much to spend on another teddy. All of a sudden all decisions were careful and purchases were minimal. She was saying ‘thank you’ for the ‘extra’ things like fair ground rides, because she knew £2 was a lot of money for a quick ride.
For the next four days of the holiday she spend £3. On some pick and mix and a pen she loved. That’s it. £3.
She came home with £7. Saying she’d rather spend it on something else she really wanted.
I climbed down from the top of my tree and throughly enjoyed the rest of our break without wincing everytime we passed a distracting shop.
Holiday money was a GENIUS idea. I would highly recommend it. Obviously there are different levels for different children. I’m not suggesting you give your 2 year old a holiday tenner, but the principal is there. A friend of mine from work Vickie was telling me she gives her two pre-teen children £50 at the start of the summer holidays and the same rules apply. Trips, Outings -parents pay for them. Otherwise it comes out of their own pocket.
I love it and it REALY does work!
But… what do you do when you come home from holiday mode and real life resumes? The weekly tenner can’t continue, that’s £520 a year! Argh! But, the principle of money having value can stick around.
We’ve started a job list. Again, another spur of the moment decision. Holly is AMAZING at doing jobs around the house and we would often be so impressed with her efforts we’d slip her £1 now and again. It became a bit too hard to track which jobs were expected and which were rewarded. So, we made a job list of ‘extra’ chores that were not expected but if completed would be rewarded.
Bedroom tidy – expected.
Tidying up after playing – expected.
Putting shoes away – expected.
Vacuuming – rewarded.
Dusting – rewarded.
Folding washing – rewarded.
You get the idea I’m sure. We’re only in the first few weeks of it all so far, but it’s going rather well. Like today, Holly knew we were going to the village country show, so she did £1.70 worth of jobs in the morning and treated herself to a chocolate milkshake and a few attempts at the tombola with her own money.
I bought lunch, drinks and bouncy castles, but she got the extras herself.
Makes sense to me!.
I’m not saying we won’t end up in a ‘can I have situation’ again. Maybe this time though it’ll take less explaining and I won’t start ascending those branches to the top of the parenting tree!
Any advice you’ve picked up along your own parenting journeys of kids and money would be appreciated! After all, we’re all just winging it! Aren’t we?