Giving your child an allowance? Yay or Nay?

I have waited patiently to write an article on this topic. I wanted to be certain that my opinion is based on experience.

At the beginning of last year we decided to start giving the kids an allowance. There were many reasons why I assumed it would be useful. Everytime we would walk into a store, the kids would ask me for 99% of the things they would see.  Often I would say yes to buying them things I thought they “needed”. And then, when I cleaned out their rooms and cupboards (quarterly/seasonally) I would find forgotten items, duplicates and sometimes items that broke because they sat right at the bottom of the drawer. I also started noticing that my kids started thinking that when something was misplaced or broken we simply had to go back to buy another. I certainly didn’t want them to lose value for things and neither did I want them to feel like everything was just easily replaceable because the truth is that in the real world it isn’t so!!!

Another reason was spending money for school lunch break. I do make every effort to give the kids a wide variety in their lunch bags, however they often would still want to buy something at the tuckshop. And while I am in no way against them doing so, I do feel that they ended up buying too many sweets or fizzy drinks.

I sat them down one afternoon and explained to them that they would be getting an allowance. By starting them on an allowance I was hoping that it would teach them responsibility. Responsibility with cash, responsibility for what they bought and responsible spending.

An allowance meant that when we visited a store they were allowed to buy something – with their own money. If they didnt have enough they would need to save up until they did. If they visited the school tuck they were also allowed to buy what they liked. And if they spent all their money on treats they would have none left to save towards buying a toy/novelty.

At this point I am sure my readers are keen to know how much of an allowance I do give to each child. Each one receives R50 per week. Total of R200 / month.

Now when we started off I would give each child R50 on a Sunday (in R10 & R20 notes) so if they wanted to take any to school it was already split into smaller units. After a few months of witnessing a responsible 11 year old, I started giving her the full R200 at the beginning of the month. My 7 and 8 year old needed a bit more time. Initially when they received their weekly money they would spend it in no time, either at school or on little things like putty, pranks, cheap toys etc, but the turning point was when they seen their older sister buying a big set of Lego with money she saved over 4 months. That was a beautiful moment for me yet a very very tough one. Beautiful because I had seen her show responsibility and pride in her efforts, and certainly value for her new purchase. Tough because I had 2 little people begging for some Lego too. I had to be stern about it though or the lesson wouldnt have been learnt.

Now I know there will be varying opinions about the amount of money I give to my kids. There are people who are totally against the idea of an allowance at this age and others who may feel that a parents responsibility is to provide. While I dont entirely diasgree with either set of opinions I do feel that each household needs to implement strategies that work for them. Yes a parent is responsible for providing- but that is providing the needs of a child (food, cloth,safety, education and love). The extras should be controlled and in moderation to teach our little people value and resposibility. Often my kids would ask me for things in a store that they really didnt need and very often really didnt want either. And I discovered this when thay started getting an allowance. They would still ask me for 99% of the things they would see. Only my response differed now, I would tell them you can buy it with your own money if you’d like and I cannot begin to tell you how many times they would reply: “no I dont really want it” and I would chuckle silently.

So YAY! An allowance has certainly worked for us. Birthdays are still celebratory splash-out days. And I still offer advice to my kids on how to spend their money. For example: my son asked for an XBOX for his next birthday. Which we have agreed on. But I suggested to him that he start saving up to buy games for his console. So every month he has been keeping R50 for tuck and R150 towards a games fund.

My 7 year old really wants a Hatchimal and since her birthday is close to the end of the year, and she is too impatient to wait for it, I suggested she save up for a few months to buy one. She is already on R700.

An allowance has taught them to compromise certain things for others. They value their purchases alot more because it was bought from “their own money”. And not “free” from mom and dad.

It has also improved the math skills of my 7 year old. She is always counting up her money.

They have also learnt to spend less on sweeties because they preferred saving towards something more concrete. I know I may be cheating here but I did also tel them that if they bought too many sweets and their teeth went bad they would have to save up all their money for the dentist. Altho I think this one worked. Hehe!!!

Mind you it did take a few months to get into the routine of an allowance. For them and me. I learned to say no and stick to no! They learned to spend more wisely!

I would like to invite my readers to comment underneath and let me know your opinion and thoughts on an allowance. Xoxo

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School Lunch Organiser

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School Lunch Organiser
How do you plan your kids school lunches? Is it impromptu, planned a day in advance? A week? Or monthly?
Ive put up a wipe-clean board for each school-going child on my fridge with a list of their preferences: main, fruit and snack. Under each ive written in what they like and i try to make sure they get 1xmain 2xfruit and 2xsnack or 3xsnack. There arent that many preferences that are common to all 3 of them. So having this list makes it easier to prepare their lunches without asking them each day what they would like and without confusing the one who likes pasta arrabiata with the other 2 who prefer pasta and cheese.
I also aim to pack snacks and fruit portions the night before. And main portion in the morning (unless of course it is somethin that will stay well if packed the night before too)
In an effort to pack a rainbow lunch for them i have kept a pie chart with the food groups right next to lunch menu. I sometimes fail but try to make it up by offering them those foods for after-school lunch or dinner.

Mains:
Pasta arrabiata
Mac and cheese
Baked baby potatoes with cheese
Chicken pita with cheese and lettuce
Chicken sandwhiches or rolls
Buttered bread
Peanut butter sandwhich
Toast with jam and butter
Creamy spaghetti with brocolli and corn
Chicken nuggets
Fish fingers
Kebabs
Cut corn with butter
Chicken salad
Cottage pie

Fruits:
Melon
Pineapple
Grapes
Clementines
Banana
Apple
Kiwi
Strawberries
Mango

Snacks:
Cereal bar
Cream crackers
Muesli/granola
Yoghurt
Macadamia nuts
Pretzels
Cashews
Peanuts
Pistachios
Crunchy corn
Popcorn
Dried mango
Dried apple
Dried banana
Cranberries
Raisins

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Food Group Plate / Pie Chart

Organising My Day (Part 3)

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I manage my time through this daily planner. Its just a guide because when u have a toddler or younger kids home, their needs take priority and u tend to then fall out of the time parameters you have set.
A quick tip : always allocate approx 25% extra time for each entry to account for any unforseen events(in our house- usually a nappy change or at the moment a toddler tantrum)
I lay out this time table for myself and laminated it so it can function as a whiteboard and split it in 30min increments. I worked it out around the times that are constant. Namely:school drop off, pick up and prayer time. Its not often that i need to attend a morning achool function so most mornings are pretty “free” from 9 – 12 and i have made little tabs to slot into this time
✔face mask and puzzles (this happens once a week as part of our activities so i put on my face mask and concurrently build puzzles pr play games with my toddler) thats the only way i can slot in some time for myself
✔grocery shopping happens once a week on a monday and thats a full morning including an eat-out brekkie for me and my tot
✔sorting and packing + tv time(once a week i aim to neaten out cupboards and pack away the bucket of things that we collected over the week that have been lying around. During this time i let my tot get in some tv time-yay for Sophia the first)
✔activity time happens every mornig for my tot and is usually unstructured.
This is what my day looks like
4am Wake up
4:30 shower + coffee
5am prayer
5:30 wake up kids and start preparing school lunches
6am kids brekkie together
6:20 leave for school
8am back home and start cooking while tot plays pr does an activity and snacks
9am completed with cooking for the day including lunch time snacks.
Free till 12 for incidentals
12:30 prayer time
1pm leave for school rounds i carry our lunch and watch the kids play sport
3:30 arrive back home and prep for extra murals
4pm drop kids to extra mural activities
4:30 tot snack time and prayer time
5pm collect kids
Start homework
6:30 dinner and prayer
7pm kids shower
7:30 walk in summer or tv time in winter
8pm kids reading and bedtime
8:30 relax a bit
9:30 prayer and bedtime for me

Organising My Day (Part 2)

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The next part of how i organise my day / days📔🎀📔
I have always been a lover of folios/planners/momagendas/diaries. In fact i consider myself the first customer when the next years diaries are launched 😂
But more recently i have moved away from having a diary and i have moved on exclusively to keeping a monthly planner, when i did keep a diary i preferred a week-view diary so that i could see everythin for that week at first glance and not have any surprises when i turn the page.
My month planner Is not fancy or pretty, and it cant compare to some of the beautiful planners you can download off the internet but its the right size and its super practical. Its originally designed to be a desk pad and its in A3 size available at most stationers. I tear out the pages and keep 2 months on my kitchen wall. (Will post a version next). I usually dont make my own plans 2 months in advance but i do fill in important dates that are sent out with my kids term calendars. That way we work all other activities around those days and it helps me to ensure that i dont do any double entries on the same day.
Another tip i can add is that its important to do your diary entries immediately so that you dont risk forgetting an event or realise too close to the time that an event is coming up.
I include in my 2 month planner:
✔Birthdates
✔School events
✔Tests
✔Term dates
✔Appointments
I also use semi transparent, color coordinated tabs if a particular event is for a particular child so at first glance i can see who has somethin coming up next.
On the right hand side is a space for notes. In this section i usually fill in things i need to do/reminders for that month that dont need to be done in any particular order. Examples: remebering to make a dentist appointment, remembering to buy next seasons school uniforms etc (and when i am ready then i allocate a day that has time to do it and that usually depends on my day planner)

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This is what my monthly planner in action looks like. I put 2 months up on my wall in my kitchen in a space that is convenient and easy to access but also not noisy to look at 😂
I keep my semi-transparent repositionable sticky tabs there too for easy of use. Pink for my 10 year old, green and purple for my 7 & 6 year old. That way i know at first glance when an event is coming up for either or all of them.
I put a line through days that have past – it just gives a feeling of accomplishment to planner addicts like me 😉
I like doing 2 months that way it gives me a broader view of blank spaces if i want to plan anything for those days. I also put a huge “H” to indicate holidays.
In the notes section i fill in reminders of general things i need to do or want to buy during the month that have no particular order.
Tell me if you like this method and if you have any tips of your own to make planning for your family easier?

Organising My Day (Part 1)

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I was inspired to start writing this post (or i should say one of a string of posts) on how i organise my day by my friend @laylahs_
She asked me yesterday how i manage all the hectic-ness of my day. And honestly i had no easy answer to that question. But there is method to the madness. And each family or individual need to find a method to suit their lifestyle. I would need to post this in parts and hope its helpful.
I spend a big part of my day (3 hours almost) driving and being a mom taxi 🙅🙋🙇🙏 so having everything i need to go with me in the car is mandatory. I dont want to spend time just before i need to leave home trying to gather things i will need for our daily “roadtrip”. So i have printed out everything that needs to go with me on small cards. In this picture is my nappy bag list which ive attached with ribbon to my nappy bag-this list has changed over time according to what we need. Sometimes i ask my helper or my daughter to prepare the bag for me so having a list attached really helps to make sure nothing is forgotten. I try to repack this bag every night so the next day is a breeze. This is my toddlers bag and th list includes:
1. 6xnappies
2. 1 “full” or at leasf half full wetwipes
3. Wrist band (i like having this for the unexpected trip to the mall to make sure shes attached to me all the time when shes out of her stroller)
4. A set of clothes just in case
5. A hoodie if its cold
6. A box of juice and pkt of crisp in case she gets hungry (i usually pack her some wholesome fresh food too, but i keep this always packed in case our outing tends to be longer than expected)
7. Snack tin with dry snacks like pretzels, muesli, dried cranberries etc
8. Warm blanket for winter/ cool one for summer for car naps
9. Small pillow for comfort
10. Hand sanitiser for the on the go nappy changes or eating on the run.

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These are 2 other lists that are important for my day-to-day. One goes on my emergency bag (this bag stays in the boot of my car ALL the time and has just a few important items in it)
✔Nappies
✔Wetwipes
✔an extra set of clothes for each child
✔hoodie for each child (in case we go out and the weather turns) – happened to me tons of times
✔peak cap for each child
✔2 sealed bottled water
✔Towel (in case)
✔blanket
✔mini first aid kit (antibacterial spray, ointment, plasters and paracetamol)
✔small amount of cash money

I repack this bag only when i know we have used somethin from it otherwise it just stays in the boot.
The second list pictures here is what needs to go into my car and is wonderful when i ask someone else to put things in for me.
1. Pink nappie bag
2. Emergency bag
3. 2xneck pillows if kids fall asleep
4. DVD Player box which has 4-6 kid dvds, remote control, player and plugs
5. Kid crate which has our books and cd’s and travel games
6. Pram
7. Phone charger
8. Bin/plastic bag

I pasted this inside my car on the dashboard.
I know its alot of lists but they have truly made things easier. Hope can help you too.

Reward Charts – Keep it Simple

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As long as i can remember i have been keeping a reward chart for each child. In fact so much has changed between my first chart and where we are now. Lots and lots of modifications in between and we are finally here using out Melissa & Doug reward chart with magnetic board. ( Available at TAKEALOT)
What i love about this board is it reusable – firstly. So no more copies upon copies and endless designing or searching for the perfect and most interesting find.
What i came to discover too is that my daughter (6 years old) actually learnt so many math concepts through arranging and rearranging all the reward magnets – creating patterns, graphs, adding them, subtracting them and so on. This was incidental and much to my amazement.

With regard to the actual functionality of a reward chart in general i realised that the best way to make the idea of having one work for you is to keep it real and keep it simple.
By real i mean its important to set rules/limits in your household which are non negotiable. Dont include these in your chart as the kids DO NOT and SHOULD NOT need to be rewarded for rules in your home that shouldn’t be broken. E.g TV time in the evenings are allowed only if you complete all your homework on time. (TV time is already the reward for completing their homework and this is a non negotiable rule). Remember it is their “choice” not to get tv time since they have chosen not to complete their homework.

However areas and habits that you wish to encourage your child to partake in or complete are necessary to include in the reward chart like setting the dinner table or packing away their toys. Until you find they are actively participating regularly you can continue to reward their efforts.

We focus on rewards being outings or activities. Painting or crafting rather than shopping. It creates a sense on importance in the child by spending that quality time doing something special.

Keeping your reward chart simple and straightforward makes keeping up with it far easier for both parent and child. Tasks are simple like setting the dinner table or brushing ones teeth. Easily achievable in other words and very important is to reward the child on completion of the task. And not later on. Remember that young children do not have concept of time and rewarding them later would make them feel unaccomplished.

Appreciate your Littlies

I read an article on 66 Positive things to say to your child the other day and for me it was a fruitful reminder of how important it is to praise and appreciate our children.

Do you also tend to overuse a particular “praise-phrase”? I sometimes tend to, especially in the busy-ness of it all. Even though we don’t totally forget to praise their efforts, we often do forget to really acknowledge them in the moment and our words almost evaporate before their tiny ears even hear them.

Here are 66 “praise-phrases” from popsugar.com . Simple but so very meaningful. Use them and truly acknowledge them in their moments of glory.

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The Wonders of Parenthood

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Whilst writing this article i tend to feel like the title is absolutely clichè. Yet the experience of parenthood and the many wonders are in fact so unique to each of us.

How a mother feels when she experiences life inside of her for the very first time. Although almost all mothers experience “wonderment”, it is yet so special and unique to each one. And although a father does not feel the life inside of him, he is still breathless when he feels the little limbs pushing against the wall of mummies belly.

The list of wonders that a parent experiences throughout the lives of their offspring – even before birth, is unlimited. It is a unique experience with an array of emotions involved, feelings of love, pain, guilt, fear, sacrifice, glee, awe, endearment …. and the list continues…

And, although as a parent we will experience all of these emotions at some or other time in our childrens lives – in fact often a multiple at the same given time – we would still always choose to be here…. right here, everytime.