Monday, March 18, 2013

On The Money: It's All About the Penguins

Since I started thinking about and researching the best way to teach the kiddos about finances, numerous "teachable moments" have presented themselves in our daily lives. Imagine that. While Steve and I thought we would deal in real currency, it seems the boys had something else in mind.
Penguins. Yes, that's right. Penguins. As in their school mascot. They earn perfect penguins for demonstrating good behavior, both individually and each classroom has a collective total, as well. In the upper grades, penguin passes become the currency of the classroom: both good behavior and high achievement can earn a penguin pass. On the other hand, passes are confiscated for incomplete assignments or poor choices.

In our house, paper penguins have become such hot commodities, certain members of the family have taken to swiping the coveted penguin (while one's brother is too sick to notice) and taking the penguin back to one's classroom to add to the collection.
I know. It's wrong on so many levels. But I must admit I secretly applauded his covert operation. And his guilty conscience got the better of him and he 'fessed up. Which led to much venom spewing on the part of the offended. Oy. Like I said, teachable moments are cropping up right and left.

This penguin madness got me thinking: is cold hard cash the currency little kids need in a society that's gone almost cashless? So many parents employ a variety of strategies: tokens, marbles, stickers, on-line money management sites, apps...
What about you? Do you reward your kids with an object they can later exchange for cash? Does it work or do you find that you get bogged down in managing/supervising?

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