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This is a conversation that I had with my friend regarding children and screen-time. It might give you some insight into what drives me to design these programs the way that I do.
As a parent, I want my child to value school and be self-motivated when it comes to trying his best. I try to connect school with the opportunity to earn the things that he wants but what happens in the summer when he no longer has this source of income? How can we use it as an opportunity to strengthen the message that school is important to his life and is something he should care about? In general, giving him the opportunity to work for the things that he wants lets him experiences earned rewards, something that he sees adults do as well. During the school year, he earns an allowance for each day he attends school, and bonus bounties for the work that we go over on Saturdays. He knows that assignments that are done well will earn him more bonuses than sloppy ones. Things got especially interesting when he suddenly got into collecting wrestlers and was hell bent on buying every single one. Let’s just say every homework was coming back pretty neat. Summer is a great opportunity to make school seem like something he is now missing out on. When we start out allowance, I point to the empty piles and say, “Man, see how much money you’re missing out on now that you don’t have school or sports?” I can see the look of stress on his face when I say this. Then I usually follow with, “Well that’s okay. We’ll look for plenty of bonuses whether it be you cleaning the house, or helping dad. We’ll figure it out. And…OH, I forgot to tell you. Your teacher gave us all of your notebooks from the school year. We never checked those! So when you need some extra cash, we can review how you did last year and get you some bonuses. How does that sound?” He got really excited. The point of doing this is to create an understanding that even work that wasn’t reviewed can be used towards the things that he wants. When he starts school next year, hopefully he will consider this when he is sitting in class. Knowing that we really pay attention and look at everything also lets him know that we care, which makes it much easier for him to care. I hope that this gives you some ideas of your own. As always, happy parenting!
In the beginning of the school year, we were receiving concerned notes about Ryan not paying attention and seeing below average scores. We worked hard and saw amazing results. What we have been doing: We focus our comments on speed, accuracy and neatness. How we have been doing it: Dad does an awesome job of making sure that homework is the first thing that happens after school. Then at allowance time (every Saturday morning), we go through all homework assignments. Any examples of neat accurate assignments increase the frequency of bonus dollar rewards. We use a rubber stamper to create this physical moment of pride while he gets to stamp his assignment and hear what I liked about it. He loves explaining to me what it was about and how he solved the problems. He loves it when I notice his efforts and I've seen it really motivate him to try harder.
Most reward systems or piggy banks rely on real money to incentivize actions. Since money has a set monetary value within the ecosystem in which you exchange it for goods, you don't have any control over what it's worth. Even at a quarter, it can add up quickly. This means that somewhere down the line, you are limited as to what you can award and how frequent that might be.
Now that school has started, getting the children to wake themselves up is on my list of top priorities because the sooner they can master this, the more relaxing my mornings will be...and let's face it, we need all the help we can get in September. Now that we have an established currency where they know that certain currencies can be exchanged for tangible rewards, I can use bonus bounty as an incentive.
I think it's important to take a long view of the things that we do every day and how they can help or exacerbate a problem down the road. When it comes to digital devices, my goal isn't to teach them to avoid using them but rather to enjoy them with balance. I want the act of putting the device down and out of reach something they are comfortable doing. The way that I can help this is by giving them more things to consider when in that immediate mindset. I want them to think about the situation that they are in and appreciate that there are times when experiencing something else is also valuable, such as face to face time with someone you care about, or physical activity. As long as these points are met I would be satisfied and feel successful.
Human beings and especially children are strongly stimulated emotionally by visuals. This is why the media has such a powerful impact on the way that we think and the things that we do. Your children are constantly surrounded by ads, movies, television and video games. Most of this is geared towards simple pleasures and consumerism. When your children are at one of their most active cognitive development stages, the period before age six, it's even more imperative that we take a proactive stance to balance out this with positive influences.
There are a lot of studies out there that seem to suggest that a large part of your adult personality is set by age six as the nature of brain growth changes afterwards. Looking at how the millennial generation has been defined, it seems like that theory could be credible.
Praise, in my opinion, is the most powerful motivator that you have in your arsenal. I place positive language way above the incentives of earning KidCash or anything else. Calling attention to all of the wonderful things they do will not only make them feel good about shifting their behavior but encourage them knowing that their parents love and believe in them. KidCash was built as an easy way for you to systematically highlight the small accomplishments they make daily. Combine verbal praise with the ability to earn rewards. The rewards themselves translate to the child's ability to control what they can do and have in their lives and so it serves as another form of lending trust to the child and encouraging independence. Whenever I notice something positive that the children have done, I write it down. I will repeat it at the end of the day as well as when we give out allowance. I will mention these things randomly as well. How do I know it's important to my child? I hear him repeating these messages back to me with why he's making a productive decision. Not only is it motivating him, but it's building up our relationship as he sees me as a person who watches and cares. We encourage positivity as a way to use our product for many reasons other than making your job easy. We hope to give you the best shot of getting their attention, getting through to them and building a close relationship built on communication, trust and love. We hope this helps gives you more ideas in your daily journeys taking care of these little ones. As always, happy parenting!
Danielle D. says...As a teacher, philanthropist, wife, and mother of a 12 year old boy with Aspergers...I can honestly say that KidCash is truly a blessing! Growing up, my son struggled with fairness and motivation to accomplish daily tasks. He...read more
Rolf L. says...This is the most innovative, ingenious, and NECESSARY tool in our upbringing arsenal! KidCash teaches our son discipline, the importance of earning and saving, the value of work, penalties for not following the rules, and overall structure. AND IT'S FUN...read more
Christina K. says...My LO is 3 1/2 and at first I thought she may be too young for Kid Cash. I am happy I started using it anyway. It is working wonders for us. She looks forward to saving "cash" for items. She is learning the valu...read more
Tre H. says... The KidCash system has been amazing in our home. The children no longer "nag" for things...the change was basically overnight...read more
Karen E. says...This kit has all you need to teach kids how their actions translate to money which in turn buys things/activities they want. Many people wait until kids are older to teach dollar-sense, when in fact kids as young as 2yo are...read more
Patrick H. says...In our home, we use many reward systems, especially since we have an autistic child. KidCash is so much more than a reward system, it is a parent education system. This ...read more
Bethany Stout. says...We love our KidCash system in our house! Instead of making limiting junk food and device time a negative experience, it has made it fun and easy! I highly recommend this program to anyone with ...
Melissa says...KidCash sets the foundation for us to build off. Really, it's almost like behavior therapy for M2. Her therapists have suggested various things in the past that KidCash helps us to incorporate and apply more...read more
Maria C. says...As an educator and a mom, I can’t begin to describe to you how important it is to teach children how to be financially responsible early on and to encourage them to make...read more
Ashley says...We’ve instantly seen an improvement in attitude. She’s also so excited about her cash, she even brought it to the restaurant and when she ordered lemonade, she “paid” the waitress. I’m hopeful...read more