Saturday, March 10, 2012

Teaching through Allowances

A month or so ago I noticed the back of my van was a disaster.  There was trash, toys, shoes, and just a whole bunch of junk in the floor and seats.  It drives me crazy to drive a car that is messy.  I repeatedly asked the kids to pick up their stuff and throw the trash away.  What especially annoyed me was the trash laying in the seat directly under the trash can on the back seat of the van.

After asking them several times to clean it up and prohibiting them from taking food or toys in the van until it was cleaned up I decided more drastic measures were in order.

One day while they were at school I cleaned out all their junk.  Then I took the van to the full service car wash and had it cleaned inside and out.

When I paid that month's allowance I gave them all half their normal amount.  When I handed Rehm his, he said, "Um, Mom, this isn't right.  I get $20 not $10." I agreed with him and kept handing out other kids' money.  "But, Mom! You didn't give me all my allowance."

That is when I thanked them all for using half of their allowance to clean my car.  Rehm's jaw dropped.  Ruby and Eliza Claire looked confused.  Charlotte's eyes lit up and she said, "Oh, this is because you kept asking us to clean out the van and we didn't do it!" Bingo! Somebody got it.  Rehm's response, "Mom, you're really messing up my budget."

I would love to say this completely solved the problem.  It didn't.  The van is messy agian but not nearly as bad.  I told them yesterday I am not paying March allowance until all of their stuff is off the floor of the toy closet (this is where they keep their backpacks and coats) and the van is picked up.  If we reach the end of the month before they do these things I will be keeping their allowance this month.

I try not to tie allowance to chores.  But when they are completely ignoring any tidiness I draw the line.

We'll see how it goes.


1 comment:

Wencked said...

I visited with grandma lastweek and she mentioned this story. Just love your allowance stories.