Three Lessons for Kids Who Want Things

Tagged as: Youth & Finances
If your kids are like most kids, they are always asking for more. Here’s an idea to teach your children financial responsibility, self-reliance and, most importantly, to equate effort with reward.

Establish a goal

The goal is up to each child. Encourage them to make a choice about what is most important and should be something they really want and won’t lose interest in.

Create a chart

Keep track of progress visually using a chart with stars, stickers or checkmarks. Establish clear expectations about the chart and what will happen each day to earn a mark. Explain which chores qualify and which do not. You should not incent for the chores that are regularly expected of them. If they are young, it may be helpful to graphically represent which chores earn a mark with a picture of the chore, for example, a dog on a leash or a trash can.

Set a timeframe

The size and length of the chart should be commensurate with the price of their special item or the age of the child. A $5 special item may only take 7 days to earn; whereas, a $50 item may take two months. That’s up to you.

For younger children, a long wait time can be discouraging. Promote persistence by adding ‘you earned it’ milestones along the way, for example, a donut after two weeks or a movie night after four weeks.

Some chore ideas:

  • Feed and provide water for pets
  • Empty small trash cans into a big one
  • Clear all dishes from table
  • Water houseplants
  • Wash dishes
  • Load or empty dishwasher
  • Trash to and from curb
  • Wash the car
As they work towards their goals, parents can add extra stars when they’ve gone above and beyond helping, sharing, or trying. That way, they’ll know you’re always keeping an eye out.

Using these tactics, you’re on your way to teaching your children how to set goals, track progress and be organized. Good luck!