We've been having a new learning experience going on around here… for all of us lately.

I've switched up the chore/allowance structure after watching a show about it on Oprah (Suzy Orman was on talking about how to deal with telling kids no in the new economic times – one good thing – it sure makes it a lot easier!) 

Ironically, I have ended up spending more money but not really, I'll explain.


Suzy mentioned that giving an allowance gives the kids a lot more than just spending money, it gives them a learning experience on how to manage their money now while the issues are still quite small – before they go onto mortgages, car payments, groceries and other life expenses.

She recommended paying them par with minimum wage for their time – broken down into minutes rather than hours when needed.

I had been operating under the assumption that the kids should contribute to the household, 15 minutes per day.

This new idea sounded like a lot, but I gave it a try.

Since the girls both do 15 minutes per day, we set it at 2.50 per day (which is pretty good dough!).

If they don't do it at all, or don't do a good job, they don't get paid.

If they go the extra mile, do an extra ordinary job, they can get a bonus.


The difference in their morale and dedication was instant.

It begs the question, must everything be tied to money, but the truth is, we are wired for reward – the pleasure principal.

Nope, it doesn't really have to be money, but in this case, giving money as a reward has far reaching benefits – there is method to the madness. 

The kicker is that although it may look like I am spending a lot of money, the reality is that I am not, because the catch was that I would no longer be doling out money for little extras, which as you know can add up to a lot, especially when shopping at the mall!

Also, I figure when they are older, and spending a lot more money, if they learn to manage it now, there will be a lot less requests for money lending – and more than $5. The possibilities are staggering. 

So basically, I may be spending a little more, but a lot more is getting done, and I am spending a lot less than I would be if I was hiring someone to do it, with a lot less inconvenience too.

Things were rolling along nicely, until one day I discovered something that has rocketed the productivity around here, especially for my 11 year old daughter, who is an entrepreneur in spirit I'm sure. 

Enter Tony Robbins – The Power of Unexpected Rewards.

I have been reading Tony Robbins "Awaken the Giant Within" every morning for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. I take notes and highlight everything of interest, the point is to absorb and USE the information rather than skimming it, a habit I have gotten into over the past decade or so. (btw, it's available on KINDLE, I can only dream of having one unless I move the the US – tempting! – I need it very badly to manage my book addiction)

As it happens, he mentioned experiments done that indicated if there was even the possibility of a reward, that people, as well as animals, would up their performance.

However, if it became expected, or a known occurrence, such as a wage, performance would remain the same, and even go down over time.

IMPORTANT: The trick is to reward as soon as possible after the behaviour. So, one day my daughter was feeling energenic and decided to do some extra straightening in the cupboards. Told you they had become motivated!

When she was finished, I decided that she deserved a bonus and told her immediately that she would be receiving an extra $5 with her pay on Saturday. Actually I gave it to her but she asked that I 'hold it" and include it with the rest of her money.

She was almost bouncing off of the walls with happiness and pride, another bonus that is beyond monetary value.

She felt appreciated. 

So now, she has been regularly spending time doing extras. 

So far so good. Except for yesterday.

I will tell you about that tomorrow.

Coming Up: Another Lesson Learned – it amazed me how I never saw it all these years! 

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Jan Ferrante

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