Monday, April 03, 2006

Teaching my eldest son to save

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I often wonder what is the best way to instill values in our children. They are still very young, struggling with counting, etc....

My eldest son very quickly learned through observation that putting a quarter into a candy machine or mechanical train ride would provide fairly instant gratification. He then learned that one of his parents or grandparents often had change. You can imagine what the routine has become.

When he was even younger, I would give him change and we would make a game out of putting it into a piggy bank. While his hand eye coordination was (and is) evolving, it was a very fun and exciting challenge for him. I think the symbolic act didn't sink through.

Recently, we were at the drugstore and he again wanted to put change into a candy machine. This time I had an idea. Maybe he would like to keep the change and save up for something more important. I asked him which was better a candy or a ride on the mechanical train at the supermarket. He preferrd the train, which cost more than one quarter.

I then asked him if he saved enough quarters, would he like me to take him to the supermarket for a train ride. He agreed. He then tried to put the quarter back in the candy machine. We repeated the conversation several times, after which it sunk in. I'm now enforcing the conversation, asking him to help me find two quarters, so we have enough for a train ride.

So far he seems to care alot about finding quarters. I'll take him for a train ride in a few days to see how the experiment works.

Meanwhile, I hope he doesn't break open his piggy bank looking for quarters.

Have a wonderful Tuesday,

Making Our Way

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