There are many moments that I hope my children will recall as fond memories from childhood when they are adults — moments they don’t appreciate now, but might later say, "If it wasn't for my mom..."
We are working on responsibilities in our house. Each member of the family has responsibilities in our household — including the children. I'm purposely not calling these "chores.” I'm not looking at this solely as an opportunity to have someone help me scrub the toilet or feed the dog, but hope to eliminate whining about homework and begging for a toy every time we walk into Target.
Each week some responsibilities change, and some remain the same, like doing homework. Each completed responsibility earns my children a smiley face. At the end of the day, if they’ve received a smiley face next to each of their responsibilities they earn 25 cents. If they don't earn a smiley face for even one responsibility ... no money.
It only took my youngest son, who is six years old, two days to catch on to this.
The boys are excited about earning money and being able to save up to purchase one of the many toys they’ve been begging for. I'm the type of parent who incorporates learning into any moment that I can, and with the responsibility chart we work on a lot of math.
Each day earns 25 cents; how much money could you make after five days? But you missed two days, how much money will you earn?
Last week you earned $1.25, this week you earned $1.75 ... How much money do you have all together?
We do math on paper first and then count the money out with actual dollars and coins; that way they know what the different types of money look like.
This morning after reviewing the chart my youngest said, "I'm so excited to go to Daddy's this week!"
His father and I are divorced and we share custody.
"What are you most excited about?" I asked.
"Not having any responsibility chart."
The experience of the responsibility chart will make my sons better people in the world, I know in my heart this is true. But this statement crushed my heart just a little today.