Well, it’s been a long time. I’ve posted sporadically on IG but after a few years away from the blog I’m back! It’s a new stage of life and today I’m talking about the Bank of Mommy. Yes, you know… the stage where kids want all the cool things, and as parents we are looking for the balance of earned reward, increased contribution, learned responsibility, and reinforced positive behavior with good choices.
Wow that’s a lot, isn’t it? My littles are 9, 7, and 5 now! The smallest started Pre-K last fall and next year they all get to be in school full time together! They are energetic, and really responsible in the structure of their classroom. They are eager to help, but also want to be told what to do. It’s exhausting micro-managing littles though when we already carry the mental load for everything else.
I understand though… sometimes I can have a whole list of things to do and I feel so overwhelmed and unmotivated that I struggle to get going. You know what I did? I started trying an ADHD hack about writing out a list and rolling a die for your next task. I was so incredibly productive! It was like a game instead of a chore, and then I thought… this would be awesome for my kids. Not just the chores though – how do I turn this whole productive, responsibility, behavior system into a game with rewards?
Well – I decided to make this a whole system, complete with Bank of Mommy so the kids can earn and enjoy their rewards… save or spend. Yes there are apps out there, but my kids do not need anymore screen time, and they don’t have phones. I wanted something simple that sets boundaries too – like bare minimum qualifiers for their general health and needs that don’t get them points… chores they can easily get and follow without being told, and bonuses for taking initiative and noticing something needs to be done (and just doing it). Behavior additions or retractions for natural consequences, and I can add in one off bonuses for tasks or special occasions. This is my first edition, so bare with me in my handwritten paper on the fridge…
My kids are very motivated by saving in their piggy banks, and they want to get lots of cool things. I was feeling nickel and dime’d over Pokémon cards, Minecraft coins, and squish-mellows. I’ve struggled with the idea of “allowance” because in the adult world, no one pays you to take care of your home… you either do it or live with the natural consequence of having an unkempt place. I want them the learn responsibility for the sake of their own well being, not for a paycheck. I also strive to keep them humble and not entitled with their blessings.
Bank of Mommy is my mix of both! Some qualifiers for me are the expectations for their day to day… these are simple, like picking up their toys when they are done playing, putting their dishes in the sink and rinsing them out, and keeping their coats and shoes from being all over the entry way.
Next comes their chore or money maker… and yep, we are using a die to figure out what they need to do. This is a 5-10 min tops chore that they can self manage. There’s a few options for how to satisfy the chore, and the goal is if we each take a few minutes and help in different ways… then we all share the responsibility and the benefits. And, like a job… Bank of Mommy pays out in points that convert to dollars. They can even earn a multiplier on their chore points if they take it upon themselves to do something “extra” to help out in the home!
Now, if they are good listeners and heed to behavior warnings for red choices, they can get a bonus point for green behavior… or lose a point if they don’t. I finally have a natural consequence system that means so much more than a time out or a grounded tablet. Yes, those can still apply… but it’s more of a reward driver then a loss of privilege now.
The way you work out value of rewards is completely up to you! I chose $1 a day as prize potential unless I throw in a bonus, because… well I have three kids and that’s $90 dollars a month out of pocket if they hit them all (and that’s my goal for them). Then they have the choice to save or spend their earnings!
What I like most about this system is this hits personal initiative and responsibility, encourages positive behavior, AND gives them a start of fiscal responsibility. As they grow, the style of the game, level of tasks, and reward values will change… but now that Bank of Mommy is open for business, it’s here to stay. As they get to teen years, it may open a credit line division for lending and repayment, so they can start to understand how borrowing works (and interest). Right now, they can even check their balances real time since I made this into an excel workbook for tracking their daily earnings and spending!
I’m working on an adult book on financial management – wooo! News upcoming on this!! And I wanted to find a kid friendly way to bring it into their world young, and I accidentally got started in one go.
What do you think? Would your kids benefit from a system like this?
One thought on “Bank of Mommy”
Thoughtful spreadsheets and a bank of mom ideas. I think that’s great motivation for kids.