Thank you so much for patiently ringing up my oldest 3 children. This trip to the store was the conclusion of a rather involved lesson in math, financial affairs, and life. For you see, it all began when Maw-Maw sent them mail...
"Hey guys, there is mail in the mailbox for you!"
Children run hurriedly to the door...
"Who is it from?!" "What does it say?!" "Can you help me open it?!!!"
Each child began to rip open the beautifully decorated envelope, sealed with tape for double safety. As shreds of paper filled the floor, they each handed me their card, anxious to know the identify of the secret mail pal.
I began to read each child their own individually wrapped card, with a hand-written note for all, signed by their beloved grandmother. Appreciative. Excited. Truly thrilled by the fact that Maw-Maw thought enough of them to send mail. That alone had these 3 souls jumping up and down and yelling, "Maw-Maw sent us mail! Maw-Maw sent us mail!!" The excitement was evident. Soon the discovery of the money that was included. And like most children would do, they immediately concluded, "We can go to the store and spend our money!"
My children, ages 2, 4, and 5, are old enough to understand that money spends... but I desired to teach them how to spend money. So I quickly agreed to their plan, but on these terms - let's. talk. math.
"If you have $5, and everything at the Dollar Store costs $1, how many things can you buy?"
The older 2 thought for a second, then almost simultaneously shouted, "5!" I was so proud of them. Therefore, we are going to go to the Dollar Store, as they desired, but not right now. Not today. Self-control.
5 days later, we ventured to the Dollar Store. Sitting in the van I asked, "If you buy 5 things, how many dollars will you have left?" They looked somewhat puzzled and then sadly concluded that they won't have any money left. I continued, "If you buy 4 things, how many dollars will you have left?" ... "If you buy 3 things, how many dollars will you have left?" ... Still new to the concept, I counted with them, and watched as they began to understand this concept of spending and saving. Then I asked each child, "So, how many things will you buy at the Dollar Store?" Each one wanted to spend, but also wanted to have money left. They concluded 4 items to purchase- a decision that was made on their own, prior to entering the store. Budgeting.
Then the fun began!! As we walked in the store, I knew I needed to guide them away from housewares and cleaning products, and steer them toward that which would excite them most - toys! Naturally they wanted everything they saw. However, they became more thoughtful in their selection, as they watched their self-imposed $4 budget begin to shrink. Shopping.
Oh, and by the way... thank you for the friendly service you extended 5 minutes before the store was scheduled to close. I'll be more aware of that next time!
P.S. Each child put $1 in the their piggy bank.