Since last school year when Lane's teacher used "tickets" to encourage good behavior and then allowed them to "spend" their tickets at their classroom store we have been doing the "Decker Family Store" at our house. I bought a big ole' roll of tickets and the boys made cute little ticket containers (recycled out of oats containers) and decorated them to hold their tickets. I put things inside there like candy, matchbox cars, dirt bike toys, gum, movies, a "trip to the movies" etc...just basically random little things that they could "buy". Our smallest being one piece of gum for 1 ticket...our biggest item being a trip the movie theater for 50 tickets. (toys were 5-20 tickets, to earn a dvd 20-30 tickets etc...)
It was basically a way to kind of teach our two oldest how to spend and save. We had tried money before...Lane and Luke have had red solo cups for save, spend, and tithe since they were 3...but I am not sure they were "getting it". It was more of ritual than the respect of money and how it works and knowing how to save and spend. So when Lane came home so excited about tickets last year I just knew I had to follow suite. (*parent tip of the day....do what your kids are excited about when it comes to learning! Basketball? Well then shoot hoops while you work on spelling words, Race Cars? well then use the color of the car, counting the wheels, sounds etc! ) SO with his excitement about tickets... I jumped on board and wow did it take off. "What gets rewarded gets repeated" and the boys were all about being helpful, respectful, responsible, and going above and beyond what is expected of them to earn the tickets. (It was a fabulous way to stretch out the holiday candy too!) And best of all it taught them exactly what "saving" up was like. They both LOVE gum! But if they really wanted something for 10 tickets and had 8 tickets...did they really want to use that ticket for a piece of gum when they were so close to earning that 10 ticket item? Once they looked at it like that and had the tangible items in front of them...it clicked. I think what helped them most was SEEING it!
All kids visually learn and audibly learn...but some kids are more visual and some are more audible. Lane is for sure an audible learner where Luke is more so a visual learner. (they both are kinetic learners...they do better when they DO what we are talking about. Boys tend to be movers and shakers and just goers in general so the more physical the better.) But I have to say they both really thrive when they see the transaction taking place when it comes to spending and saving.
Well through out the summer I would add things here and there but their ticket store wasn't on the fore front of my mind because like most things summer just becomes more relaxed. Well the last week of summer we were going over our new routine for school. (I always hang it on the side of the fridge...seeing it helps them both!) And that is where our "D-tickets" list hung. We got to talking about it and I added some stuff to the store and wouldn't you know they got all jazzed again about the store. (Luke is currently dying to earn the movie "Walle").
Around that same time we had registered Lane for flag football for the fall and Lane was begging me for under armor football gloves (that he see's the NFL players on TV wear.) I kind of went into a mommy mode rant after signing him up reminding him...
"Lane, we registered you, got you the shoes, jersey, pants, and all the things you need (including the sweat bands and sleeve that you got last year)...BUT YOU DON'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT...If you want those gloves than we can ask for them for Christmas or your birthday. Well of course that followed with him reminding me that Christmas and his birthday are after football season and I
kindly said I understood but that then he would just have to wait til next year to wear them because we just don't always get what we want and as I am reminding him of this life lesson my sweet hubby blew me away...
He interrupted me telling Lane that he can have whatever he wants (parent approved of course), whenever he wants it, as long as he works for it.
It was such a great statement. It was so perfect for that moment...and it is so true.
After a more in depth discussion Daddy told Lane that he could call his Poppy, Papa, Uncle's, go to his neighbors etc...and explain that he is trying to make some money to buy his own football gloves and ask if he could do a job for them to earn a dollar. The phone calls were SO adorable. Time stood still watching him call them and he even left his Uncle J the cutest message while laying on his bed chatting on my cell phone and he just looked so big.(one of those stand still momma moments ya know?!?!) And low and behold...
HE DID IT!
3 WEEKS LATER AND LOTS OF LITTLE JOBS....HE EARNED THE MONEY!!!
We are so proud! We of course bought the gloves that first week and I have been hiding them in our dresser. I know we could have just gave them to him the minute he "X-ed" off the last square on his envelope (and man did I ever want too) but I knew that wouldn't teach him the transaction...
"the visual" like the tickets...
is what helped him learn.
So he had an envelope that I drew 24 boxes on and he had to personally put his dollars in there and put an X for each dollar in each square. Once that envelope was full it was off to the bank to make the deposit and THEN order something on amazon and then wait until it comes in the mail! He knows somethings come in one day and some things in a few days...so once he earned the money, deposited it, we gave him the gloves that came in the mail!!
To say I am proud of him is an understatement. But it's more than just earning the money. It's the understanding that things are worth working for, that if you want it...there isn't a limit if you have the determination to work for it(such a good daddy), it's that sometimes it takes even years to complete saving for something and that isn't a bad thing....it's a GREAT thing because it's worth it (a good reminder for all of us), it's the understanding that you can't use amazon like a game...you have to have the money BEFORE you click buy now, it's being proud of what bought with your OWN money and learning a job you may have not known before you tried to work for something...it's just so so so much more than making money.
And now...as the 7 year old (like all things thus far) he will pass down his knowledge of this to his brothers and encourage them to work for something too. Right now Luke does great with the tickets! He SO gets that way for earning and spending and I think for 5 we will stick with that...but some how in just one short summer...our sweet Laners is doing laundry, mowing the lawn, and braving up the courage to call someone and ask if they have a way he can make some money and working for it.
I think my next step for Lane is doing monthly allowance. At the end of September (and each) month he will receive $10.00 if he keeps up on all his chores around the house. He will give $1.00 to tithing and he will be able to save or spend the other $9.00. (We have helped him understand this for a while. We believe we give God the first 10% off our pay day and we want our boys to do that as well and understand that theory and when they are little it's just been understanding offering, giving, etc...and since they were 3 those tithe cups have been a blessing showing them put some in this cup first if there is change but the tithe principal and earning and actual money is so much more teachable now at age 7.)
And of course if he wants to earn more than $9.00 in the month of September he can always call around asking for work. :)