I remember the day my daughter was born like it was yesterday.
The night before my wife started getting contractions and just like a first time parent I had my notepad jotting down the time of contractions looking for the time between contractions to shorten. My wife eventually fell asleep around midnight but I stayed up a couple hours after to make sure everything with her was fine. I eventually passed out and was awoken around 4am by my wife who had this look on her face and no words needed to be spoken. I grabbed a monster out of the fridge, our nifty “to go” bag (which we didn’t even use), then booked it to the hospital. After a couple hours in delivery my daughter arrived around 9am. The first time I held her in my arms was literally the happiest moment of my life. That day my wife saw me cry for the first time ever and we’ve known each other since we were in freshman algebra in high school.
We’ve since welcomed my son into this world and I was equally happy then as I was the day my daughter was born. I have a lot of aspirations in this life but God and family have always and will always come before everything else.
Instilling Core Values In Our Children
Over the past month or so I’ve been doing a lot of research and having in depth conversations with my wife on how we plan to raise our kids. Obviously we are not going to allow them to become heathens but we want to instill core principles into each of our children that we believe are necessary if they are going to survive and thrive in this world. We have talked about responsibility, accountability, and strong decision making skills but just last week it dawned on us that we wanted to teach financial literacy as soon as possible.
We’re not rich by any means but we believe we provide a very stable and generous upbringing for our children. If you want to get technical we would be considered upper middle class. I am working extremely hard to build wealth that I can pass down through our family for generations but the last thing I want to do is create “spoiled brats” or “trust fund babies”. I know that may sound harsh but I’ve come across a handful in my lifetime and they are certainly not the kind of people I want my children to become.
While discussing this with my wife we realized a huge problem in our parenting tactics! To sum it up real quick we have been raising our kids completely wrong. It definitely wasn’t our intention but as parents you want the absolute best for your children. You want them to have all the things you never had and to experience all the things you never experienced as a child. But is that really the best thing for them?
It was easy for us to spot with our daughter because she’s still a child. We started to notice more and more that if she didn’t get something she wanted she threw a tantrum. She literally falls on the floor like a stack of legos and stomps her feet while screaming at the top of her lungs. I’m not sure how you were raised but I come from a military family, I’ll just say our household was ruled by an iron fist. There was no talking, negotiating, or inquisitions about why we were acting the way we were. You either did what you were told or “else.” I know some people still subscribe to that type of discipline tactic but that’s not what we are implementing in our household.
Of course getting her back on track has been tough but could you imagine if we had waited until she was a teenager? For over a decade we would have been giving her everything she wanted or desired because it felt good to give her the things neither of us had. She would be a spoiled, inconsiderate, and ungrateful human being which is the last thing my wife and I want to happen.
Our Reward System For Kids
So in order to steer things in the right direction we have made drastic changes to our household over the last couple months. We have instituted timeouts, taken away toys and canceled play dates. I will be completely honest with you, I think sometimes it hurt me more than it hurt her. I hate hearing my little princess cry, I just do. But the results have been absolutely stellar, we haven’t had any more tantrums, she uses her manners (“please”, “can I”, “thank you”) appropriately and she cleans up her messes when asked to do so.
We have been so ecstatic about these results that we have been looking at ways to continue and foster this new behavior while introducing financial literacy and I think we’ve figured it out.
Treasure Box & Sticker Chart
My daughter loves the show Jake and the Never Land Pirates so she has a fascination with treasure boxes. She is always pretending things around the house are treasure boxes so I decided to build her own treasure box.
We have essentially created a reward system to introduce financial literacy and foster the behavior we expect from our daughter.
Here is how it works:
1. My daughter absolutely loves candy, and yes every kids loves candy but you she would eat it all day long if you let her. We are firm believers that people always acts in their own self interest so we are using candy as our main motivator. We have bought her favorite candies in miniature size bags.
2. My wife printed out some nifty sticker charts from Pinterest and we purchased some stickers that she picked out.
3. For every 5 stickers she receives she’ll be able to open the treasure chest and pick a candy of her choice. We hope this will build her decision making skills because she will only be allowed one bag of candy.
4. So how will she earn a sticker? By doing the following things without being asked…
- Sleeping in her “big girl” bed all night long
- Waking up and going straight to the potty then brushing her teeth
- Cleaning up her playroom all by herself
- Coming home, taking her shoes & socks off then putting them in her cubby
- And a couple other things we believe are big tasks for her at the moment
We hope by doing this that we teach her how hard work and discipline pay off. This will be a forever evolving system as she becomes older, we plan on introducing financial principles soon by allowing her to save her stickers for toys at Target. We believe by introducing these principles early it will be much easier for her to understand core financial principles.
As you can probably tell I’m far from a seasoned carpenter, in fact I think I spent more time on Youtube and the internet than I did actually making this. But it was truly an amazing project that I did with my daughter and I believe it is something she will remember for a very long time. Oh yeah, in case you were wondering the colors are “bubble gum pink” and “viola purple.” I will never forget because I spent 30 minutes waiting in line at Home Depot to have them made!!