Every year I face the same dilemma, my kids (who are normally broke) want to buy Christmas presents for their siblings. My dilemma is two-fold, one I don’t like the idea of giving the kids money to purchase gifts, I think they should earn the money. Second, I hate extremely dislike standing in the dollar store with 5 kids trying to help them pick out Christmas gifts for each other.
This year I had an idea. For several years we had a points store at our home where the kids could pick out prizes based on completed school work, good behavior, etc… After mulling over my Christmas quandary, I thought, why not create a Christmas store? I sort through my gift stash and do a little extra shopping then create a “store” in my bedroom. The kids will all have the opportunity to visit the store a few days before Christmas and purchase gifts for one another.
The only problem that remained was the money, so I decided to create a Christmas job chart. Each child’s jobs are color coded with dollar amounts next to them. When they complete a job they are paid immediately with Christmas dollars. The dollars are put into a Merry Money jar and on December 23rd they can go shopping at Mom’s Christmas Store.
I am thrilled to see my kids trying to find more ways to earn money so they can buy more gifts for their siblings. I am also thrilled that many of my household projects are getting done thanks to my new commission system. For my little kids, their jobs are ones that they would normally not be paid for, collecting laundry, picking up, etc, because I had trouble finding big projects that they were capable of doing. But my big kids have tackled some lingering household projects. So far my dishwasher, fridge, stove and microwave have been cleaned out, my couch has been vacuumed, my coupons sorted, walls washed, laundry done, and plants watered. I don’t even have to ask them to do the jobs.
If you are interested in using this idea for your kids here are a few tips. Pay kids for jobs completed immediately. This is especially important for little kids who thrive on instant gratification. Use clear jars to store the money so the kids are able to see their earnings and are motivated to do more. Make jobs age appropriate. There is no reason to give a 14 year old a dollar for unloading the dishwasher or ask a 3 year old to clean the stove. When stocking your “store” price items clearly. My little kids don’t understand the concept of money too well but they are able to count. Items in the “store” will all be priced at an even dollar amount. The child will be able to count out how many dollars they need to purchase an item. There is no tax and no change. (We can save that lesson for another time)
The Merry Money jars are filling up, my house is getting cleaner and I have avoided taking six kids Christmas shopping!
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