As a mother of four with a child in college, a child in high school, a child in middle school, and a child in elementary school, my wheels are reinvented quite regularly. With such a diverse group of children, I am consistently strategizing on how to achieve desired results, particularly with my three younger children. Recently, I learned a very important fact: money motivates.
My high school son just does not like rolling out the bed. On average, he gets a solid eight hours of sleep unless he is reading leisurely before turning out the lights. In spite of this, he still finds it a bit challenging to rise. On an occasion or two, his delay caused me to take him to school. I was not a happy camper. I lectured him a bit, but began getting tired of hearing myself. I decided I had to try a different strategy and immediately thought, “Money!”
My son is both an entrepreneur and an employee. He tutors young children in French and math as well as puts in few hours on the weekend at a small business in the community. Considering his savings has grown, I decided to forego lecturing. Instead, he is required to give me $20 every Monday morning. If by Friday he has gotten up and out of the house on time, he will get his $20 back. For each day he does not, I charge him $4. Since employing this motivational tool, I’ve not had to take him to school.
My middle school son, on the other hand, pops up bright and early regularly. However, he has the tendency to lose items I typically have to replace. He is super famous for misplacing his lunch bag. Last year, after loosing two within two weeks, I resorted to sending his lunch in recycled, plastic supermarket bags.
When school began this year, he ascended his soapbox with his, “I’m older and more responsible” speech in hopes of dishing the plastic. Not willing to take any chances, I charged him $10 to carry one of several real lunch bags I own. If he is able to keep up with it the entire school year, he’ll get back his $10. If not, the money is mine and he’ll have to pay me $10 more to rent another lunch bag. So far, so good.
My elementary school daughter enjoys a trip to Toy’s R Us now and again. She, too, is a great saver. This past month, she put aside close to $50 given her from family and friends for reasons too numerous to name. She knows that in order to spend some of her money on an item she likes, she has to bring home a great report from school and do her chores. Let’s just say her visits are few and far between. She just can’t seem to get a handle on that bedroom of hers, but she is making progress.
My quest to discontinue ranting and raving about my expectations are far from over at this time. What would motherhood be without a sermon or two? However, just as my daughter, I’m making progress.
Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC (www.writingmomma.com). To date, she has helped over 23 children release five books in less than 13 months. Kimberly offers online writing classes and workshops on this often dismissed subject. Kimberly is a publisher, author, and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.