Take your child to the store and take a picture of the item for which he is saving his money. You can copy a picture off the internet, or cut one out of a magazine, but to see it firsthand gets your child more excited about it. It is important to remind your child of their goal; it might not work at first, but even that is a lesson in and of itself. If your child sees the picture and decides to buy something else instead, as soon as the newness wears off, realization that (s)he is back to the financial square one will set in. This is a great lesson in delayed gratification and the reasons for teaching delayed gratification are many (linked to higher test scores, improved self control, impulse control, etc). If you have an iphone/itouch/ipad, download our Savings Setter to do all of the above for you!
Make a savings thermometer for your child. (S)he can put the picture she took at the store (see #1) at the top, and move the "mercury" (ribbon) every Sunday as (s)he gets paid her commission for the week.
Try some extrinsic incentives. Think about what motivates you at work: sales contests, raise reviews, referral incentives, etc. Our kids are no different. Not to be confused with bribing your kids to work, just consider some ways you can occasionally spice up the routine. Some ideas from our fisherkids customers:
*double their pay every once in a while if they do everything they are supposed to do every day of the week
*create a contest; for example, if they earn their entire week's commission for three weeks in a row, you will match them 50%.
Think sales contests or other work incentives that you have found beneficial.
If your child is saving for something very expensive (like a car, a computer, etc.) consider matching them, kind of like a company's 401(k) matching program.
Of course, motivational techniques are not always monetary...please remember to wrap your arms around your child and tell them how much you appreciate them, how they are really helping out the family team, and how much you love them. Children crave attention from their parents and they will get it one way or the other....so let's give them our love and attention before they seek it out negatively!
Change up the responsibilities every so often. Remember to offer your child a commission commensurate to what you are asking them to do as well as a commission that affords them to learn financial savvy. That is, underpaying and overpaying will lead to the conflicts: "If I can never save enough, why put forth the effort?" or "I have plenty why do I need more?" It might take some tweaking, but let your kids know from the beginning that you will work to find the right commission.
For those responsibilities that we don't pay for but simply expect them to do as part of the family team, try something reinforcing like the family MVP of the day/week/etc. Make an award of some sort that would be meaningful to the family, or simply a toast to the MVP at dinner. It's amazing how far positive reinforcement goes!
Remember that our children are miniature versions of ourselves. So instead of wracking your brain to think what motivates your children, think about what motivates you and give it a shot!
Remember that "chores" aren't child labor.....they are meant to teach our kids how to live on their own one day! Make the chores fun....like teaching them to cook dinner (stay age appropriate and ALWAYS supervise!) Check out our kids team-cooking in the video below. It forced sibling teamwork which was joyful!
MOTIVATING YOUR CHILD
How can you keep your kids motivated as they help out the family team? As parents, we all know it's important to instill the multiple lessons of responsibility in our children, but we also know that the chaos of life tends to interfere with our good intentions. It's important to keep our children excited, especially as they get older and they have many more responsibilities in school, work, and extracurricular activities. Lots of motivational ideas are listed below, with more to come. Email us with your great ideas so we can keep our kids motivated!
"If I fish for you, you eat for a day. If I teach you to fish, you eat for a lifetime."
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Thank you for your support. We are pleased as punch that you have allowed us to serve your family. In 2009, our family took a huge leap of faith to start this company, and we have been overwhelmed with the response! We are humbly grateful.