How I Taught My Preschooler The Value Of A Dollar

How I Taught My Preschooler The Value Of A Dollar

Chris loves money. More accurately, Chris loves what money can buy. At 5 years old, he studies any toy catalogs he can get his little hands on. When we go to Target, he begs to look at the toys, hoping he can convince me to buy something. Fortunately, I’m more stubborn than he is, and I never give in. Given that buying things has always been a huge motivator for Chris, I decided to use his desire to tame his little temper and encourage him to take on some responsibilities around the house. I fired up the computer and headed to Wigglish to make a custom chore chart, which Chris absolutely adores.


We started him out with four responsibilities: making his bed, keeping his room clean, having a good attitude, and setting the table. When we began this system, Chris was three years old, so four responsibilities seemed like enough for starters. We told Chris that if he got stickers in all the boxes, we would go to Walmart and get a little toy NASCAR car, which cost about $30, and we all know how much Chris loves NASCAR. (For you new readers, Chris has every driver, number, and NASCAR sponsor memorized.)


Be Sure To Check Out Teaching Your Child The Value Of Patience When Spending Money


Chris was excited and breezed through the week. I’ve never seen a three year old with such a good attitude! The next week he even helped design his new chart and worked really hard at filling it in. We decided to let him have up to four “holes” in his chart (places where he didn’t complete a responsibility) and still pass. After all, we all have bad days sometimes. But if he got more than 4 holes, the chart didn’t count, and he didn’t get his car. It only took one week for him to figure out that he didn’t like the consequence for having too many “holes.”


At the time I was happy that Chris had a better attitude around the house. But then something else began to happen. When we went to Walmart, he saw a $15 car that he wanted. I told him that we weren’t buying it. And then he asked, “How many charts is that?” I expected him to protest when I told him it was 5 charts, but he didn’t.


When we got home, he asked if I could make him 5 charts. I made the charts with Chris’s help, and we hung them up on his wall. For 5 weeks, Chris worked really hard, and every night he reminded me to put the stickers on his chart. He eventually did buy the car he was wanting so badly, and he’s “saved” to buy more cars since then.


What began as a way to motivate Chris to stop throwing temper tantrums turned into an exercise where he learned that he must work hard to afford expensive things. It stopped the begging in the store, too. Now when Chris asks if he can buy something, I just say, “That’s four charts,” and he decides if it’s worth it or not.


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