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Money Buys Obedience

April 17, 2013

**** UPDATED: Added sample of my BBuck design*****

It is no secret that I have been struggling with my 6 year olds behavior. One of the methods we have used in the past that seems to work is money! Sort of.

I created my own money when my sisters were little (there is a 15 and 20 year age gap between me and them) and I used that as their consequence & reward system when they were with me. They LOVED it! So when I had my own kids, I kept it going.

We have fallen off using it for the past 3 years but my oldest still remembers it and voted for it to be brought back into use. So this week we are starting it again

This is how I do it.

Set-Up

1) I call a family meeting and just start asking the kids to list examples of good behavior. If they get stuck I offer up one (i.e. what about talking nicely). As they list examples I write them all down. Then I ask for bad behaviors (hitting, back talk, not listening), write those down. And lastly I ask them what they think are fun things to do or good rewards (more computer/tv time, going to the library, date night with mommy or daddy). Once the list is done I

2) Explain that we are going to earn money for our good behaviors and we will lose money for our bad behaviors. The money they earn is theirs to spend HOWEVER mommy can say no if the item they want to purchase is against the house rules (inappropriate). Then I ask them how much they think they should earn/lose/cost for each item on the list. I use $1 as my starting price for behavior that I expect daily, such as speaking respectfully, sharing, cleaning up after ourselves. Then prices go up from there but tend to top out at $3. Bad behavior cost us a bit more and tops out at $5 for any behavior that is an absolute no-no such as, hitting, spitting or bad words.

3) I create a simple money template. This is best done if you can create it on the computer or scan it for easy printing. You do not want to have to hand design money every time you are running low. I then print out and laminate my money. Get cute with the money name – i.e. Kids Kash, a play on your last name maybe, or family trait. Ours are called Bee Bucks – All of our names start with the letter ‘B’, my son’s favorite stuffed animal is a Bumble Bee and it is something we use to unite our little family. We are the Bee Family.

I print mine on colored construction paper where each denomination is its own color. For example all my $1 are on red paper, $3 on yellow, $5 on blue. This makes it quick and easy for me to pay out any earnings, see what I am running low on and easier for the youngest ones to know what they are earning and how much they have.BBUcks

How payment works

Choose a time that works best for your family, for me it is dinner time. We are all sitting down and talking about our day and it is a perfect time for us to go over the day’s behaviors. If I try to do it before bedtime it doesn’t happen. I get t0o caught up in trying to get everyone bathed, dressed, and in bed on time that I don’t actually pay anyone.

At “pay time” go over the list (you will probably stop doing this part after a while and just pay out as behavior is seen), pay according to the list you made and take back any money owed due to bad behavior.

We only really pay out regularly like this if there is specific behaviors that we are trying to get rid of or promote. Normally we pay or take money at the time of the behavior.

My children are allowed to turn in their money to me for home based rewards (extra tv time, special outing, etc) or they can exchange their money for real money at an exchange rate that is determined by age. My 3 year old is at .25 for every dollar (or Bee Buck). My 6 year old is .50 to the dollar. They can then buy themselves something outside of the home. A new toy they have been saving up for, or maybe just some candy.

The first time we started this program with my now 6 year old – he was 3 and about to start preschool. I had just bought him a brand new Cars backpack but he wanted a different Spiderman backpack that had wheels on the bottom. He saved up $18 dollars and bought it himself. He still has it – in fact he gave it to his baby brother to use for his first day of daycare along with the story of how he bought this all by himself when he was his age. And when a piece on the strap broke last month they fixed it and never once considered asking me for a new backpack because this one was “HIS, that he bought!”

Important Notes

Mommy and Daddy pay out when we choose. YOU do not get to tell Mommy or Daddy that you should get paid for something. We are a family and families work together. I do not have to pay you because you spoke nicely to your brother, but if I see that you are being extra nice to him I may reward you.

I pay them for doing things that are not on the list. If I see a behavior I like I may reward them with a Bee Buck. I may ask them if they want to do an extra chore I need done around the house for a set price.

I use the money as a consequence to behaviors not listed as well. For example, if someone leaves the table without clearing their plate, I will remind them that Mommy charges $3 for maid services. Would they like to pay me to clear the table for them or do they want to do it themselves? Or if someone is having a problem cleaning up their room when asked, No problem, “Mommy is more than happy to help put your toys away, I charge $5 AND I get to choose one toy to keep” (I always pick that weeks favorite toy *insert evil laugh*).

When we go to the store and someone asks if they can have a toy/candy bar/treat/some other bullshit I am not going to buy, I say very enthusiastically “Yes! Of course you can. It is only $8, do you have your money?” If they do not have money or they do not have enough money I simply say, “Oh that stinks, sometimes I think I really want something but don’t have enough money for it either. But you know what? If it is something you would really like, you can come back and get it once you have all the money saved up.”

Question and Answer

Don’t you think your kids should just do *insert action/behavior* without bribes?

Yes, I do. But I don’t mind offering my children rewards for a job well done. This may be a simple pat on the back but sometimes I like to use the money system because I also think it is important for my kids to learn about spending and saving responsibly. And for me this system helps teach them fiscal responsibility AND rewards them for that job well done. Through this reward system they learn the importance of saving their money for things that they may want in the future and they learn about donating and giving because we do show them how to set money aside for charity and they make a donation to 2 charities of their choice every year with their own money.

This system also let them see and feel the consequences of their choices. When they are working hard to save up for something and they choose a behavior that costs them a Bee Buck they are crushed. Truth is, they don’t even have to be saving up for anything. They just really love to earn Bee Bucks and they really do not like losing them.

My kids enjoy it and it seems to work for us. Fingers crossed.

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  1. Update on the Bee Bucks | Unsolicited Advice

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