Let's be real, after a long day/week of chores, work and adult life, what I REALLY probably want to do is sit down in front of my phone or television, blank out and relax. But then half a minute later, one of my children walks up and asks me to play, and then I have...a dilemma.
Having to summon more energy at this moment is sometimes that last thing that I want to do. I know that my children won't be small forever, and will definitely not want to interact with me the same way for much longer. So how do I eliminate the hard decisions from this entire exchange? Here are some of the things that I do to change the experience.
Being more conscious about this moment and the next.
According to an article at parenting.com, there was a study done by AVG Technologies that surveyed more than 6,000 children, ages 8 to 13.
They discovered that 32 percent of children felt unimportant when their moms and dads were distracted by their phones. The kids said they had to compete with technology for their parents' attention, and 28 percent of mothers and fathers agreed with this observation.
I try to step back in my thoughts, get a higher vantage point and figure out what will be important looking back. One thing that I know is that I'm going to blink and my two little ones will be grown. I know they're not going to want to throw their arms around my neck as they do now, as they giggle and whisper how much they love me for much longer. I also think that the most vivid memories for them will probably be the ones where they are either extremely happy or angry. I want to add as many happy ones as possible. Memories where their mom got on the floor and tickled their feet. Where I chased them around pretending I was a dragon and they were a scared princess and prince. I want them to remember me talking directly to them face to face. I don't want to ignore them when they are asking for my time because they will soon have their own lives and things to do and they probably don't include me.
There are times when I really need to unwind, but it can be something that I feel all of the time. Life is always busy, since as far as I can remember. As a working parent, breaks are rare and why should it change any time soon.
For relaxation, I like to scroll through my social networks. It feeds my brain dopamine and gives me a breather. Still, I think to myself...will I even be able to recall what I was looking at a few days later. In the moment, scrolling down to that next update or feed item seems so important to me, but in the long span of things, it's not something that I will even be able to remember.
I try to think, what if I traded this next ten minutes of looking at my phone for ten minutes with my family. What does ten minutes mean when my kids are growing so rapidly. Okay...maybe another two minutes of Facebook and then ...
So yes it's hard, but there are things I do to make this entire exchange easier and to make more of my time quality.
Create optimal surroundings
A lot of what we want to do is dictated by our immediate mindsets, which can be altered by changing what is directly within reach. This is why I try to curb my shopping habits by never walking in. Sure, it's less fun but I just can't be trusted and as an adult, I know what I have to do.
If the challenge is, I want to spend less of my time on my phone or watching television when I have the opportunity to enjoy my children, well let's go out.
Simply putting their coats on and getting out of the front door makes this tremendously easier and it's better for us all. Then i plan something for them that is either active, stimulating, fun or all three. It could be as simple as giving them some old cameras and going to a trail to pretend to document wildlife. There's a ton of things to do with children that other people have organized or you could come up with your imagination.
Sometimes it is as simple as just getting on the floor and placing your device down somewhere out of reach. Read our other article about how your little ones will see his moment of weakness (you're on my level now mom/dad) and will clobber you either their cuteness.
Every day is a constant struggle to do what you know is best, especially if it's not the least path of resistance. We hope that you find your own ways of being mindful and take the most advantage of the limited time we all have to enjoy one another.
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