Being a mum is no easy task, you try to rise your kids so that they become responsible, consciences adults, but if you and they are constantly bombarded by Tv and other mums with got to have kids things, its easy to fall into the ‘spoil kids rotten’ hole. When your kid comes to you and says ‘please mummy can I have the such and such toy’ and you say ‘no’ and then get ‘but so and so’s mum gave him it’, you feel that you are letting your child down. We all at some point or another, before becoming parents, said that we would give our kids a life we didn’t have, raise them different, but at some point we fall into the ‘guilty parent’ trap, where against our better judgement we give in to pressure, from our kids (but ultimately from other parents) into giving them the latest toy or trainer or even lush birthday party. When it came to the point when my clothes allowance (and hand on heart I really needed new clothes MC Hammer was in the charts when I last brought clothes, OK not that bad but you get my point) ended up spent on them to keep up with the mini Joneses, I said enough is enough.
When growing up my parents taught me the value of money, whatever I wanted (above the basics) I had to earn it, by helping around the house, and this I believe made me a very responsible person, so why am not teaching my kids the same thing, I fell into the ‘guilty parent’ trap. My kids are still young but in this day and age kids grow up very quickly so I told them that if they want new toys they will need to work for it. I will give them money for any help they give me around the house, the more they help the more money I give them. My eldest son loved it, he went around like a cyclone, tidying up, helping his little brother wash his hands, get dressed and he even did some sweeping. OK they are small so the jobs werent that great, I still needed to help out but it was the effort that was more important. Once they saw the money, they understood that its was not just work for nothing. So far my eldest has been able to get himself a few toys from his hard work, the youngest has had a couple of toys too, from a half-hearted yet valiant effort.
I think that it’s never too early to teach kids responsibility, they learn cause and effect early on (if I throw this on the floor mummy will pick it up), so why not if I want something I have to work for it. Now every time my eldest plays with his toys he tells me which ones he paid for himself.