Today's How-To Tuesday comes to you courtesy of a genius idea the Husband had this weekend while we were on our little stay-cation. (No, it is not his How To Ignore Your Children While They Are Vomiting In The Night Idea. It's one I actually liked.)
As I mentioned yesterday, it is spring break around here. Which is really just school jargon for a week where the kids whine because they're bored, fight because they're annoyed, and end up costing me a small fortune in entertainment (which, nine times out of ten, they are bored by, fight at, and in general, annoy me as a result of).
The Husband's brilliant idea was this: We estimated the amount of money we would likely be spending for entertainment during spring break. Between movies, eating out, various museums/bowling/skating/jumping and whatever else they conned me into doing, there is always a big chunk of change. We took this amount and presented it to the kids in a large pile of cash. We told them the rules were this:
1. Whatever we did this week is going to be completely up to them (and they all have to agree amongst themselves about the activities). They can spend the money however they want on whatever activities they feel like.
2. Whatever money is left over, they can keep and split three ways.
3. Since THEY are choosing the activities, there will be no whining/fighting/teasing allowed. If any such behavior ensues, money will be subtracted from the pot. This rule automatically forfeits their right to complain about pretty much anything this week. I think it's my new favorite rule ever.
4. If they choose to pocket the money and forgo fun activities/eating out - they are responsible for finding their own entertainment for the week. If anyone were to come to me stating their boredom or unhappiness with the situation, money would again be withdrawn from the pot. It removes the burden of playing cruise director from me, and puts the responsibility of that right in their own little hands.
How did they take to the proposal?
FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC, I tell you.
First, they spent an hour and a half in a meeting of the minds, discussing, prioritizing, and debating happily -- all without my involvement.
Second, once they had lists of everything they wanted to do during the week, we started pricing it all out. Yes, the zoo is free. But parking is ten dollars. And the like.
Having all the information changed their initial budgeting quite drastically. I could hear them deciding whether or not it was worth it to go out to eat. I heard them lament at the exorbitant cost of restaurant eating. I mean, drinks are like three whole dollars!?
It was music to my mama ears.
We will see how it plays out, but so far today it's been amazing, and our plans for the week look better than anything I could have come up with. Plus, it provides a little lesson in budgeting for them with tangible, actual dollars. It gives them the freedom of choice, and the responsibility for their own happiness. I think the Husband may have stumbled upon his most genius idea yet.
Your turn. What can you teach me to do today?
Money image via.