I took my toddler to watch Puss in Boots for the first time last weekend. The dark theatre proved to be a good place for imagination. Needless to say, he probably watched half of it with full attention and half imagining he was in a cave or something like it that I couldn’t understand.
Anyway, after that I decided to take him to the mall across the road. My intention was to get him a pair of exercise pants for gym class. I got his attention diverted to going to the ice skating rink after seeing a toy shop as soon as we stepped in. I’m not familiar with the malls here yet because we hardly go to them, otherwise I would’ve chosen a different entrance believe me. Walking past a few more shops and he spotted a toy from RadioShack, which was right next to the photo shop I realized I needed to go to. I still managed to divert his attention but he didn’t forget! After getting the printed photo (for him to take to school), he had me running after him as he ran back to RadioShack.
Strategically, one of the shop employees approached us, and with my toddler starting to get grumpy I gave in and bought the remote control truck for $10.98. Of course with all the enthusiasm playing with it at home, it was easy to justify that purchase. At that time, though, my first reaction was no because I tend to say no when it comes to unplanned toy purchases.
But I tell you that I talked him into paying me back using his piggy bank money. I don’t feel bad about this, but I also didn’t’ take the money out just yet. He may not have plenty of toys like my friends’ kids do, but he has more than enough to entertain himself without sacrificing creativity.
As early as 3 years old, he was introduced to saving. He’s nearing 4 now. Everytime he sees coins lying around, he grabs them and announces that they will go to his piggy. We pay him for things we ask him to do when he does them outside of his responsibility that is putting his toys away. It pleases him when he makes his piggy fat and tells us that he will one day take his piggy to the big bank (a real one) to save them there. I’m not quite sure that he truly gets it but he already knows that if something has to be bought, the money comes from me and that has to change.
His face turns lemon when I tell him that if we bought something he wanted, but he doesn’t need, that he will pay me back using his piggy bank money. Half the time he changes his mind, the other half he is solid about his wants. I think it’s a good learning tool for him to associate spending with emotions and logic. He’s still very young but it’s never too early to learn about money.