Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Teaching Kids About Money is HARD

I took LilDude (7) and GG (3, almost 4) to the store. They each carried $2 they'd earned, excited to spend it on something wonderful. I was equally excited to use some of my new "Love and Logic/allowance with kids" knowledge; basically I wanted to give them a chance to learn something about money.

The second we enter the store, GG spots the balloons. He talked about gum in the car, but we stop to check out the balloon options. I look at a couple but can't find a price tag and finally ask the floral attendant. $7.99. GG and I count his dollars. Not enough. The saleswoman leans over the counter and says, "I have one for $1.99." She brings out a snowman balloon with a lollypop anchor (to keep it from floating away.) He lights up. "Balloon!"

I also light up, thrilled for a teachable moment. "You have enough money for the balloon OR for gum. But you don't have enough money for both."

"Hmmm," he considers, "balloon! No, gum! No, balloon! No, GUM!" We thank the salesperson and head toward the gum.

We consider the gum for a long time, finally deciding to head across the parking lot to another store with more gum options. I buckle GG into his car seat. "Balloon!"

LilDude looks at him. "You want the balloon? You changed your mind?"

GG replies, "Um!" (His standard reply for "yes!")

"Are you sure?" I ask, starting to unbuckle him.

"Gum. Noooo....balloon!" We head back into the store.

The florist is surprised to see us. "Did he come back for the balloon?"

"I want balloon." She hands it to him. "Thank you!" he replies, clutching his treasure.

On the way to the checkout counter we stop so LilDude can pick out his gum. (You can see it coming, can't you?) LilDude picks up several options. GG says, "Gum! No, balloon. No, gum! No, balloon. Gum! Gum! Gum!" Both boys select their gum and we head back to the floral department to return the balloon.

"Did he change his mind?" She grins. "Enjoy your gum!"

Both boys proudly pay for their gum, take their bags and head toward the door. The florist comes running after us, the snowman balloon and another GIANT Santa balloon in hand. She hands one to each boy. "I'm going to mess up your money lesson." [Through the entire thing I'd been explaining to multiple clerks that we were on a "money learning mission."] "But I can't really sell these since it's past Christmas. And he was so polite when he tried to make his choice. And they're so cute." The boys thank her and head to the door, ladened with gum, change and huge balloons.

[Shaking my head, laughing.] So what exactly did we learn today? "Cute" can get you a long way in life???? :)

P.S. In reality, a bazillion more "Gum! Balloon? Gum? Balloon! Gum! Balloon? Gum? Balloon! Gum?" lines came out of GG's mouth. This story is the SHORT version.


Jennifer said...

That. Is a wonderful story!!!!!!

Mama Melissa said...

great story. :)

Dave HW said...

This is totally hilarious, I love it! Our nephews are awesome! I heartily support the money lesson, and figure that you still succeeded, Cynthia. They just got an unexpected bonus for working on it the hard (right) way.

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