Happy New Year everyone! I hope your holiday season was exactly what you were wishing for. Jon and I are trying out a new system of pocket money this year. I honestly felt like a bank by the end of 2017: with the amount of times Noah and Ella needed an extra bit of pocket money for this, that and the other, I felt like I was getting out of control with the spending. I also didn’t want them to assume that they could simply ask and always get.
Yes, it’s been good to teach them about budgeting and saving for something that they’d like, but surely there must be a better way. Why do some kids always want more and others seem more content with less?
I think on this score it really does come down to what you tell them to aspire to. If they see you constantly lusting after new things online and in stores, then they’re going to do the same. I read about the fact that Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis reduced the amount of Christmas presents this year to their children to make sure that they really appreciated every one of them.
And that’s the key: I want my children to enjoy the fun of Santa and have all of the thrills of the holidays, but if we keep just dishing out pocket money for them to spend all the time throughout the year, then they’re not going to appreciate what they receive at Christmas time.
Family time has always been important. Noah and myself enjoy kayaking together, even in the winter months. It’s our sacred time together every week. Couple that with Ella proclaiming that her favorite time of the holidays was not what I thought it was going to be—a tree chock full of presents—but instead a family trip into the city to see the lights. So why am I busting my gut to ensure that the stockings are overflowing? Jon assures me that it’s natural to want to spoil the kids, but actually if Ella’s favorite day was a family day out then clearly I’m missing something.
Enter “pocket points.”
Some of our friends shared their idea of “pocket points” instead of pocket money. Here’s what “pocket points” are: basically mom and dad sit down and create a list of good behavior traits they wanted to encourage in their kids, including good behavior at school and household chores. Each of the traits had a point assigned to it and you can see where this is going: points mean prizes. The more points they earn, they can choose whether or not their points equate to money or an experience, from a trip to their favorite ice cream store to going to the zoo.
After what Ella said to me I know that she’ll enjoy planning an experience day out together. I actually can’t wait for her to gain the added sense of achievement with it as well! Excitement all round.
So how does our point system work?
Our list includes positive affirmations such as:
- Helping mommy with the school bags
- Putting on your own shoes
- Making the bed
- Sending a nice DiaryZapp to someone in the family
- Helping daddy to wash the dog
Since we’re trying to keep it as positive thing as possible, we debated for a while about whether or not our kids could lose points for bad behavior. We’ve decided at this point in time (and this may change as we see how it’s working) to simply not grant any points if they’re naughty. Taking them away is going to get tricky and hard to track. This is supposed to be fun and meaningful. We’re going to stick a whole load of their fave pics around the pocket points board to remind them of the fun they had on their last days out. Hopefully it will work as an inspiration and not as a chore.