Sunday, March 30, 2008

Allowance, Toys, and a 3 Year Old's Lesson in Economics...Oh My!

Kai thought he had saved a fortune. He had $10. He's been doing his chores around the house so well, hanging up his coat and hat, putting away his shoes, cleaning the living room when it gets too messy with his toys, feeding all the fish, etc. He's been counting and counting all his money for weeks and wanted to go to the toy store to buy a toy with his small fortune. sigh. This is another one of my, "I should have thought this through in advance" sort of tough love lessons that wasn't intended to be tough love at all.

Anyway, we went to his favorite store. It's got all the real educational toys, wood sets, lots of animal and pirate figurines, etc. I figured he'd get a small dragon and be really happy. What was I thinking! I never set his expectations. He walked in there with his piggy bank full of change, thinking he could get anything in the store because he was loaded, and 2 hours later he was fuming, depressed, and frustrated to tears when he realized what his $10 could and couldn't buy him. I mean, it was a really good lesson for him. He really GETS it now, the whole purpose of money, the reason why I work, what I mean when I tell him something is too much money, was horrible. At one point he was in the front of the store screaming at me that we should just go with out anything because he didn't have enough money for anything cool. He looked like he was going to cry. I mean, there were a few things he was interested in, and he did finally choose an airplane and a skull that grows in water, but he REALLY wanted some other things and the comparison between what he wanted and what he could afford was, well, basically what I feel like every day only the poor little guy is 3.

I did hold my ground though and didn't offer to loan him any money or make up for what he had. He only had $10 to spend and that was it. Afterwards though I did take him to Books of Wonder and get him a bunch of books, then found a really nice world globe at the flea market really cheap, so his day wasn't a total bust, but man. The allowance thing was really rough. I REALLY don't want to discourage him. This was supposed to be a proud joyous moment where he got to spend the money he'd earned on something he liked. The next go round what we're going to do is set monetary value to his chores so he can reach an attainable goal of $20 which should afford him something cool without him losing his mind in the process. At least he'll be able to afford Hungry Hungry Hippos which he's desperate for, or Whack a Mole. The next shot at this I want him to feel a sense of gratification and pride when he buys something, not defeat. sigh.

anyway, that was our allowance/toy store adventure.

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