So we are trying to teach Aoife a little bit about earning a wage and delayed gratification this summer.
Yes, at 4!
She's asked a lot of questions about her daddy's work lately. Why does he have to work? Why does he have to work every day? Why does he have to work such long hours?
Then there are constant questions like why can't we go see mormor right now? Why can't we go to see grandad? Why can't we do this? Why can't we do that?
They are all valid questions that need answering, but trying to explain (in a child-friendly way) that Alan's work pays for the house we live in, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the fun we have didn't get us very far. I didn't want to go down the slippery slope of paying for chores (I do not like that), but needed to show her what earning a wage is all about. So we decided to start a marble jar.
She is used to the marble jar concept from nursery and loves it. There they got to put a marble in a jar at the end of the day if they tidied up a zone, then at the end of term, when the jar was full, they got a party. We changed that a little bit to suit our circumstances.
She can earn up to three small marbles per day for doing her chores, minding her language and taking care of personal hygiene herself. At the weekend she has the opportunity to earn a big marble on top of the three small ones by doing a bigger chore. And while she's doing these things I try to relate them back to Alan's work by talking about the every day things we do. I also try to point out how I contribute. I may not get paid for my job, but it is just as important. And I think it's important kids understand that.
When the jar is full I'm hoping to show her, using the marbles again, how Alan's salary has to be divided up, and that only a certain portion of it can be used for fun days out and treats. She's a visual person, so I'm hoping she'll get it if I do it this way.
How do you deals with work and money questions from young kids?