School IS boring. Let's be real. The big problem with boredom is that it decreases motivation in an overwhelming way. This is probably going to make everything you are trying to do for your child's future career as a rocket scientist plastic surgeon a bit tough to achieve.
I mean, I understand my child when he says he is bored in school. As an attention deficit hyperactive child who couldn't sit still, I used to plan out the maximum number of bathroom breaks I could get away with per class. Once out there, I would take a quick run in the halls and grab a snack. If I could, I would run out again for a soda. I would bring them back and see how slowly I could open them, and then how silently and slowly I could chew each chip. I was constantly doodling (and constantly being reprimanded for it), my leg would never stop shaking as I anxiously sat there with the pressure building behind my eyes. If I ran out of chips, I would slowly rip pieces of paper to occupy my sanity...so yes, I understand. Boredom has been by far the largest annoyance in my life. Let's put it this way, I would honestly rather give birth than sit in an all day conference. Yes I would be that person electro-shocking myself to death in that famous boredom experiment.
Prof Wilson's team did the electric shock experiment to try to find out if quiet, solo thinking was unpleasant enough that people would actually prefer something nasty to happen. Sure enough, 18 of 42 people, more of them men than women, chose to give themselves at least one mild shock on the ankle when left alone for 15 minutes.
"It was kind of like a severe static shock, it was not a huge jolt, but it was a little painful," Prof Wilson told the BBC's Naked Scientists programme. "They seem to want to shock themselves out of boredom, so to speak."
The problem that exacerbates boredom is when your child doesn't have anything in his/her immediate mindset to feel positive about. When I was a child sitting there for hours, the things that were in most of my thoughts went along the lines of:
These were all true for me then as it is now, but as a young child, I hadn't developed the coping mechanisms to be okay with it.
So how do we give or children the tools to be able to cope? It is helpful to first let them understand that you hear and understand them. Then we want to incentivize them with long term goals to add more perspective as to why they are sitting there and suffering. (By the way, if your child actually likes school and learning, then that's awesome for you. I'm sure some kids in some town somewhere like school and their parents never have to beg them to do their homework ...somewhere ...remote ...in a town that doesn't exist on a map anywhere).
Actively listen and acknowledge their feelings.
I tell my son that I find everything to be boring but I have two choices. I can be upset about it or I can figure out ways to cope with it. That can include challenging myself further to keep my mind occupied, exercising to take the edge off and being creative in avoiding idleness in general. I put it on him to come up with things and to report back to me if he's found anything that works for him.
When it comes to incentives, we want to provide "purpose", "empathy", "social proof" and "accomplishment" as a way to help them cope with something that is uncomfortable in the short term. The more positive things we can add to their direct mindset, the better they will be able to rationalize why they are there. This will help them mitigate their feelings of boredom with the joy of working towards something they do want.
Reinforce the positive aspects of education. Explain that the ability to read will give them independence, allow them to know what is going on around them and open the door to a treasure trove of information available on the web and in literature for whatever they could need to know. The ability to communicate will enable them to explain and promote their own ideas to others, and challenge the things they don't agree with. Doing well in school will make it easier for them to choose the job they want because they will have more options available to them.
Follow this up with social proof
As their parent, you know the people and things that your children look up to and are excited about. Use your creativity to come up with anecdotes that tie these things to what they are learning in school. Examples like these make what you are trying to say real. It could be knowing what is inside the packaging of a toy they want (reading), or even being able to tell if they have enough money to buy something or not (basic math).
Change how they view the class situation by teaching them sympathy through empathy.
I like to tell my son to think about the teacher as a real person and not someone who is trying to control him. I explain how every morning, she wakes up in her house, and gets worried that she will be late as well just like we do. (We sometimes see her running ahead of us on the street going to school which makes my story even more credible. Thanks teacher for running late!) I explain how it's probably immensely tiring trying to motivate all of the kids to learn but that she's there because she cares about their future. I explain that she doesn't get paid that much to do this job, that it's hard and that's why he should look for ways to help make her day easier. I tell him that she's probably exhausted at the end of the day, but if he does one thing to help her, she probably sits in her bed and smiles thinking about it. (We mothers love to add guilt to everything right?)
Another way to get them to think outside of themselves is to show them that in many areas of the world, education is a privilege that only a few lucky individuals may access. Give them some perspective on how maybe one day in the future, they may be in a situation where they can try to solve big problems like this and how education may empower that.
This is how you tie up the ends with a bang. One way are the reviews. You may sound like a broken record for a little while but keep repeating all of the benefits of education back to your child, especially as you show excitement when rewarding bonus dollars for effort you see in their work. Ask them if they helped their teacher and if they have an answer, give more bonus dollars to make this effort memorable. If they can tell you how they coped with their boredom this week award it to encourage more out of the box thinking.
Pretty much any situation in life can be improved in some way by how we approach it. Giving your child the process for how to problem solve their own dilemmas will ensure that you will always be with them, even if you can't be.
We hope this gives you some ideas of your own. As always, Happy Parenting!
Legal: The opinions expressed here are anecdotal and solely my own. All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. KidCash.com makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.
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!
When it comes to eating, I want my child will be able to mitigate his own healthy balance. Sure, junk food is bad but treats are surely fine if one understands not to overdo it, to balance excess with exercise and to make sure that you eat the nutritious food as well. I want my children to understand the connections that can help mitigate a healthy lifestyle. Knowing that this was my goal, I devised a long term plan using cereal and candy dollars that started two years ago. Today, we reached a huge success milestone! My children used to pick out the cocoa puffs or the sugar frosted mini-wheats. So would I, they're delicious. As children, they have no other motivation to do any differently than the pleasure that sugar gives to their brain. My plan was to educate them over time, and slowly wait for them to make the decisions on their own. I wanted their motivation to be awareness and caring about their own health. I wanted them to trust my advice because they trusted me and knew that I loved them and wanted what is best for them. The Cereal Plan At first I would make the choice between cocoa puffs and cheerios drizzled in chocolate. I would explain that the cheerios have more nutrition in them and less sugar than the cocoa puffs, even with the chocolate syrup. Any time my child would choose the cheerios, at the review he would earn a bonus candy dollar. Whenever he would spend the candy dollars, I would repeat the message that candy should be budgeted, but it's fine to have dessert or a treat after a nutritious meal. Once he started to regularly choose the cheerios, I switched up the cereal to a highly nutritious granola and raisin brand cereal and made that the one that would earn him the bonus dollars. I referred to it as the "good" cereal or "better choice". He's been choosing this cereal for a month now and choosing to keep the raisins in. This morning, he told me he didn't want the chocolate syrup. As long as I've been patiently pushing this program, that's the words that I wanted to hear. I wanted him to want to make the decision for himself, not because I had asked him to. I haven't even been rewarding bonus dollars anymore for the better cereal. He's been telling me that he wants to eat better, he wants to feel good. I think that the main point of KidCash is to get their attention and motivate them to practice your lessons. Once you have their attention, you can repeat your positive messages until they understand and want to make decisions that better themselves. We hope this helps you in your endeavors. 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