Maybe we should have taken more of the Capital One approach and set up a system, logical and with plenty of financial planning...but the system we settled into instead was bribery.
It started with potty training.
I set the ground rules. "If you tee tee in the potty, I'll give you a quarter. If you poopoo in the potty, I'll give you a dollar." I was desperate. A couple of weeks until pre-school started, where diapers weren't allowed, and nothing else had worked.
$20 later, we no longer needed diapers. It was worth it. For both us and them.
Elementary school honed this way of thinking into their constantly networking and newly sprouting neural pathways when we started paying them for good grades. We rewarded them a dollar an "A."
Our boys, they're so smart, they started making all A's.
Now they are eleven and six years old. Good grades still apply for earning money, as do chores and trips to the grocery store.
Here's my grocery store policy. "If you don't throw coffee beans, hit each other with the cart or hurt each other, but instead help me out and behave, then you can each have seventy-five cents to get cheap, plastic toys from the quarter machine when we're leaving."
My boys have worked hard for their money by going in the potty, making good grades and behaving in public. They have learned the value of money and the fine art of bribery.
"Mama, if we pick up the dog poop in the backyard, will you pay us $20?" Oh, yeah, baby.
Then their grandmother comes to visit from out of town and gives them each $100 bills.
Wait a second, no freebees!! This ruins everything...no, wait, I get it. She's bribing them to look forward to her visits...to ensure fun time and love. Ok, cool, I get it, no problem, bribery is still alive and well in this household.
It even works on me. I wrote this whole post in hopes of winning an iPhone from Capital One and Parent Bloggers. Go check it out and do your best to get one too. :o)
Sidenote: My boys do save up their money for those items they want and can't wait for Christmas or birthdays to get. And they are so proud of themselves for buying it on their own. A sense of pride that just handing them things doesn't bring. It's worth it.