The concept of money

Jackie is settling well into her age of five. There are bursts of energy and intelligence, of growth and exploration. We don’t do anything in particular to help her grow. We just create contexts, allow her freedom, we tease her with knowledge, leading by example.

She started experimenting more and more. In the moment; it’s like she doesn’t think of consequences. “What would Mom say or think about this” is not on the forefront of her mind. It used to be. I imagine waking up one day and find her transitioned to an adolescent overnight, and not a cute manageable preschooler anymore. 

It is disconcerting when it’s too quiet in her room. Nap times have transformed into quiet times. The quiet times into experiment times. She plays with water, she washes stuff, brushes her dinosaurs’ teeth, she writes on the walls, she cuts her own hair, and last weekend she ate toothpaste. (Needless to say, she is not allowed in the big bathroom during quiet time for a while.)

He independence is put to good use too: she takes things to her grandparents, she takes Rufus for walks in the morning by herself, she goes and plays outside without us, and she walks up the hill to visit friends. We bought a set of walkie talkies in order to expand her boundaries.

Understanding the value of of money is next.

I gave Jackie 5 lei to buy bread with Bunicu. She loves going shopping with them. She used to think she bought something if she put it in the shopping cart herself. Reality check needed.

Though she had money for bread, she asked Bunicu to pay for the bread at checkout, and then lost the money anyway. To make myself feel better about it I imagined that someone in need of 5 lei found the money. Last week I gave her 15 lei to pay for an hour at the indoor playground. She had them when she went carpooling with our neighbor. At the destination she realized she lost the money. No remorse. No care. No consequences. She admitted she played with the money in the car and as she got out of the car. I was pretty disappointed. How can I teach her the value of money?

So here was my solution.

Every 10 points of good behavior (listening, being brave, picking up her toys without being asked, walking Rufus by herself and other little things; which is our pre-established system or rewards) Jackie gets a Kinder egg. Today I told Conrad to give her 3 lei to buy her own egg. If she loses the money, she loses the opportunity for a kinder chocolate egg and the surprise toy inside. She put the money in her pocket and didn’t play with them this time (as advised). Slippery things the Romanian money, made of plastic, fun to handle, dirty as hell, but what does a five year old know! She got to the store. Paid for the kinder with her own money and got a receipt and change. Back at home she showed me the proof of her successful shopping trip. She was quite grownup looking. And proud. Today, at age five, she got a good lesson of the value or money and how spending it works.