My mom read an article she was telling me about the other day that pointed out how children these days are becoming less and less able to distinguish their “wants” from their “needs.” The basic premise of the article was that children who never learned the value of a dollar (or how to distinguish their “wants” from their “needs”) often grew up into adults who maxed out credit cards and owed for everything they had. While I searched to find the specific article that she had read online without success, I did find this other equally relevant article that had one point that literally shocked me – did you know that “some university administrators report that they lose more students to credit card debt than to academic failure”????
Apparently, teens entering college are offered an average of EIGHT credit cards during the first week of school and most continue to carry three of them throughout their student years. Here’s the article in full below:
At any rate, my mom suggested that my son (3 years old) was probably old enough now to “learn” the value of money in a fun, engaging way. The last two days we visited our hometown and my parents. While staying there, my mom came up with “chores” Shaan could help with to earn some quarters. For instance, while folding laundry my mom asked him to take some socks and place them in a drawer in her bedroom. Then, she had him help with some sweeping this morning. Throughout the last few days he has done some odds and ends (and age appropriate) “chores” to earn quarters. Earlier today, he was able to trade in his four quarters at the bank of Mr. Sandman (“aka” my dad) for a dollar bill. He was so proud.
It’s been really neat to see how this game has helped Shaan see how difficult it is to earn money and how much “work” it takes to earn the toys he so desperately craves. He now understands that it take four quarters (or four chores) to equal one toy from the Dollar Tree. We told him that he could either use his dollar to buy one toy from the Dollar Tree or he could save it and keep doing more chores to earn something bigger and he’s decided he wants to save it for now. How cool is that???
At any rate, I think the “earning quarters” game is good for several reasons:
1) It helps Shaan understand the value of a dollar and that things bought have to be earned (i.e. “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”)
2) It has helped him understand the concept of different denominational amounts. For instance, he now understands that four quarters make a dollar. Later on, we could introduce that five one dollar bills make a $5 bill, etc…
3) It’s Biblical!!!! “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” – Proverbs 13:4
Just wanted to share in case some of you are interested in letting your young ones “earn” their quarters as well!