This is a guest post by the husband. He can consider this my Christmas present to him. I am generous like that.
The girl likes money and I'm not sure where this is going.
My memory is that it started when she got a piggy bank a few months ago after Capital Mom won a giveaway. "Piggy bank" is a little misleading. It's three colourful metal tins, with plastic lids that have a slot. One for sharing, saving, and spending. We gave her some coins to put in them, and she quickly got the hang of it.
Over the next few weeks, from time to time she'd ask for "moneys". Me or Capitol Mom would dig into our pockets / wallets and give her pennies, nickels, dimes. She'd play with them, drop them, lose them, freak out about dropping or losing them, put them down the heating vents, and forget about them.
She was asking for moneys the other day when I felt a wave of low-level parental anxiety that, by just handing coins over whenever she asked, I was teaching her that money comes without effort, and thereby dooming her to a life of fiscal incompetence. "Hey, dad, I cashed in that stupid RESP and sent it to a Nigerian general who's sitting on a fortune! Can I have $30 to go see a movie?"
So, instead of just giving her the moneys, I introduced the concept of a "chore". I asked her to pick up the three or four stuffed animals on the floor and put them away, and then I gave her the coin.
Since then, she's pretty sharp about the chores. She'll ask for moneys, and I can ask, "what do we do when we want moneys?", and she'll say "chores!". Then, she's pretty happy to do a little tidying in return for a coin.
Moneys can also provide leverage. The other day, I had just given her two moneys for two chores, when she seemed to be about to drop a book down the stairwell. Frustrated, I asked her, "do you know what a fine is?". I explained a fine was when someone took your money away, and that I would fine her for dropping the book. She stopped pushing the book between the slats of the railing and showed me how she was just innocently leaning the book between two slats. Silly, suspicious daddy!
I say that I'm not sure about where this is going, and I mean that two ways. The first is a kind of silly way, where she'll figure out that chores equal moneys, and maybe she'll start refusing to do anything around the house unless she gets moneys, or she'll do unsolicited chores and demand moneys after, or something else we can't even begin to predict.
I think we can deal with that. What I'm really not looking forward to is when "moneys" becomes regular, everyday, money. Right now her moneys are a toy, vitally important one second, discarded or given away the next. But, one day, she'll worry about money, like we do from time to time. How much she has, how much she wants, how much she needs.
Part of growing up is learning how to handle money, and that's what I'm trying to encourage in a small way with the chores. But, in my heart, I'm so glad the coins are just moneys for now.