We have reached the ‘I would like that’ stage whilst watching the TV or looking at a magazine. Almost all the toys Pinky sees she believes she would like. Now experience has shown me two things Yes she will like and play with pretty much any toy put in front of her.
This novelty wears off within approximately two minutes and said toy becomes abandoned in the middle of the room for and old faithful. It may or may not be played with again in a weeks time.
With point 2. in mind I am understandably reluctant to buy her everything that glitters, sparkles, sings and rolls in her direction. I still remember the excitement of looking through the toy section of the Argos catalogue hoping, praying, keeping all fingers crossed that Santa would bring me whatever it was I desired the most. Probably a princess castle or a Disney doll. Santa didn’t often disappoint, but my parents did regularly. They often said ‘No, you can’t have that.’ and as I remember it of course I was disappointed, sometimes even down right upset, but I did understand. Things cost money and we really didn’t have that much to splash on any toy I demanded. I’m not looking for the world tiniest violin here because I never saw the lack of money as an issue. What my parents did do was instil a really strong sense of the value of money. How much things cost, how you earn money, the importance of saving some. I’m not sure when this all started with me but I suspect fairly young as it just feels like I’ve always known this stuff.
A couple of days ago I went to the local supermarket to pick up a couple of essentials. We ended up in the kiddy crafts aisle (not sure how else to describe it) and Pinky asked if she could have some stickers. I said no but that she could have some paint stuff instead. This of course ended up being more expensive but we have stickers at home already and I just end up picking them up off the floor after they fall off her clothes. I also figured that the painting stuff would last more than a day and it was something we could probably do together. It did get me thinking though, maybe it is time for pocket money. Pinky can count a bit, she understands that the coins are different even if she hasn’t quite grasped why and she really enjoys helping me with chores at the moment. I discussed this with her and Hubby and that was it decided.
We don’t expect her to do too much. It’s little things such as tidying up her toys at the end of the day. She helps me load and unload the dishwasher and sometimes will help with the laundry. As she gets older I will get her doing these things independently but for now it’s a ‘sowing the seed’ exercise.
After a couple of days she had £1.50 in her little purse ready to spend. She kept mentioning it in conversation as if it were no big deal but she was obviously thrilled by the idea of going to the shop soon. Since we weren’t actually planning on going anywhere near a shop and she clearly wasn’t going to wait to spend her hard earned cash Hubby took her out on her own to the shop. Apparently she had ideas of buying crayons but she didn’t have enough yet (bless her!!!!) so they went to sweetie aisle. Part of the deal of the money is that she can buy whatever she wants if she had enough and we won’t say no to her, unless it’s dangerous of course. So when she realised she could buy sweets I think the whole foundation of her existence changed. This was a whole new world.
Pinky very proudly came home with a pack of fruit pastels for herself and a bag of chocolate buttons for her little sister. It was apparently completely her idea to buy Perky something, Hubby made no hint towards it. Bless her again!!! It was one of those moments as a parent where I really felt like I was winning.
Each day Pinky asks how she can help and then duly collects her coins. The concept of saving up and actual value will take time, it may even cause some tantrums along the way, but it will be worth it. At three and a half Pinky may be too young to start this, when Perky hits this age I may decide to wait a little longer. However Pinky is fairly intelligent (not a genius but she isn’t stupid) and willing to learn. She may not be buying herself the type of toys she will ask Santa for as at her current rate of earning it may take her a decade to save enough for a new scooter, but she will be able to buy herself the stickers I always say no to, or the pack of sweets I refuse her. It will be her money that she must earn and she can do what she wants with it. I hope that value and sense of achievement goes with her into adulthood.