Everyday Board for Circle Time (or for Mom’s sanity!)

I never thought I needed an Everyday Board – you know, the kind of tool preschools across the country use during Circle Time to teach students weather, time, and calendar skills.

Using an Everyday Board to teach preschoolers | RaisingArrows.net

I don’t run a preschool (even though I do get accused of that occasionally 😉 ), so I didn’t figure I needed something like this, but then I noticed a strange (and rather irritating) pattern taking place in my home day after day…

4 year old:  “What day is it today?”

Me:  “Wednesday.”

4 year old:  “What do we do today?”

Me:  “School and watch a movie.”

a few minutes later…

6 year old:  “What day is it today?”

Me:  “Wednesday.”

6 year old:  “What do we do today?”

Me:  “School and watch a movie.”

a few hours later…

6 year old:  “What day is it today?”

Me:  “Wednesday.”

6 year old:  “What do we do today?”

Me:  “School and watch a movie.”

a few minutes later…

4 year old:  “What day is it today?”

Me:  “Wednesday.”

4 year old:  “What do we do today?”


Sometimes all you need is a walk to get back to the place you need to be | RaisingArrows.net

Now, don’t get me wrong, these little guys are super cute and I love answering their questions, but I do NOT want to answer the same question over and over if I can help it!

I was brainstorming ways to stop the madness, when I realized those preschools with their Everyday Boards were on to something!

Using an Everyday Board in your homeschool helps your little ones know what to expect that day! | RaisingArrows.net

Children like routine.  They naturally look for it.  So, when my boys were repeatedly asking what day it was and what we did on that day, they were looking for the structure and routine of the day.  They wanted to know what they had to look forward to that day (school and watching movies), and what else their day might hold.  The fact that they were asking repeatedly every day wasn’t defiance, but rather forgetfulness.  That’s why I decided an Everyday Board would be the answer!

Using an Everyday Board to teach preschoolers | RaisingArrows.net

Each day, my 10 year old daughter takes down the Everyday Board and goes over every section on the board with the little boys.  She tells them the month, day, time, and weather…and yes, she tells them WHAT WE DO ON THIS DAY!

Using an Everyday Board for Preschool Circle Time (and mom's sanity!) | RaisingArrows.net

I got my board from SimplyFun.  I didn’t want to have to make one myself, so it was worth it to have one already made for me.  The Tibbar’s Everyday Big Board has a row of numbers at the top to show what day of the month it is.  A column on one side with months and one on the other side with days of the week.  At the bottom of the board is a circle for seasons, and a circle for weather.  In the middle is a big clock (not a working clock) that my daughter shows them how to “set”.  There are lots of extra pegs in case you lose one…or five.  It really was exactly what I needed!

And guess what?!  They don’t ask me what day it is and what do we do on this day any more!  They have the board to look at ALL DAY LONG!  Even the non-readers know by where the peg is placed, what day it is!  And best of all, they are learning without even realizing they are learning!

Everyday Board for Preschool Learning! | RaisingArrows.net

As I said before, children like routine.  This routine is something that is just for the little boys.  It’s not something I have to work super hard at to make happen, but it offers structure to their day and a few less questions to mine. 😉

Would you like to WIN your own Everyday Board?!  SimplyFun has been gracious enough to allow me to give away one of these boards to one reader!  Enter to win below!

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How We Teach Homeschool Economics

Even if the state we live in didn’t require us to teach economics, we would.  It is THAT important.  I’m not teaching it the way the public school would, but rather from a Christian worldview – one that is responsible, charitable, and stewardship-minded.

Even if our state didn't require us to teach Economics in our homeschool, we would.  It is imperative we get these principles into our children's heads - here's how we do it (plus a time sensitive 25% off coupon!) | RaisingArrows.net

It is imperative we give our kids a solid CHRISTIAN foundation in economics.    This doesn’t just affect our cash flow and stance on debt, it affects how and when we give of our time and resources, policies we support, and how we view governmental systems and agencies.  This is important stuff!

Because most of us are not stock brokers or Economics professors, we will probably need a little help.  So, let me give you a run down of how we teach Economics.

{includes affiliate links}

How We Teach Homeschool Economics | RaisingArrows.net

1.  Start with Economics for Everybody.  (There is an old audio-only version of this series.  It is not as engaging and informative as the series produced by Compass Classroom.  Please, do not mistake the two.)

Let me explain WHY we start here.  This is the foundational piece.  We need to give our kids a solid foundation in how economics really works from a Christian worldview.  Economics for Everybody does that.

The series features R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s teaching complimented by video illustrations that help connect the concepts for you and your child.  (YES, I highly recommend you watch these WITH your child – you WILL learn something!)

To give you an idea of how this works, take a look at this trailer for the series:

**Get the first 3 lessons in this course for FREE!**

The reason this kind of teaching works so well is because it brings in both auditory learning AND visual learning together.  Children (and adults!) learn best if they experience concepts in more than way.  Using the Economics for Everybody series will give your child the best chance at actually learning and retaining the information.

In fact, ALL of my children sat and watched the class!  That is how engaging and well-done this course is.  However, for those of you wondering about age recommendations for this course, it is geared toward middle school, high school, and adults.  And yes, you can have you middle schooler take this class and count it toward their high school credit – ahhhh, the freedom of homeschooling!

There are a two ways you can use this course:

1.  Full Economics Credit –  If you want your child to get a FULL credit in Economics – no fuss, nothing extra to buy – you can do that by purchasing the Homeschool Set.Teaching Homeschool Economics | RaisingArrows.net
The Homeschool Set includes 2 DVDs, the Study Guide, and the Basic Economics textbook by Dr. Clarence Carson and Dr. Paul A. Cleveland.  (You can download the entire Scope & Sequence for the course under RESOURCES on the main Economics page.)


2.  Half Credit in Economics – this is what we chose to do.  The reason for this had nothing to do with not liking the textbook (in fact, I’ve never even seen the text), but because I already had some other resources I wanted to share with my kids…more on that in a moment.

If you are doing the half-credit, you will need to purchase either the DVD set or the Downloads (which you can also stream – WAHOO!)

After you have given your kids a solid foundation in Christian Economics, you can move on to…

2.  Bring in resources that compliment the fundamental concepts your student has already learned.  We are big fans of Whatever Happened to Penny Candy.

This book on its own is not enough to teach economics, but it is a good book, and I think everyone should read it.  I read it to my kids several years ago, and they still remember many of the concepts.  Now that my oldest has finished the Economics for Everybody course, I’m going to set everyone down and reread this book aloud.

I am sure there are other great resources out there that could be used to compliment, but this is the one we had on hand, and we really enjoy it.

3.  Stretch their knowledge and application.  This is where it gets fun!  Pull out newspapers, watch the news, discuss giving to the poor and giving to the Church.  Economics for Everybody gave you the concepts, now flesh them out!  Listen in on financial radio shows and talk over the advice being given.  Have your teens consider their own guidelines for saving, giving, and exhibiting fiscal responsibility.  Everyone in your family will be challenged!


Managing Computer Time for Kids

Managing your children's computer time - ideas for keeping track of their screen time | RaisingArrows.netAs long as we’ve had kids, we’ve had limitations on how long they can be on the computer.  We didn’t have any serious convictions about screen time, but we did have clear cut evidence it wasn’t good for our children.

When our oldest was a preschooler, we noticed that after a while on the computer, his ears would get red.  It is a phenomena caused by adrenaline, so we limited his time on the computer.  It became blatantly obvious this was the right choice when a few years later, he visited a friend and they played video games nearly all afternoon.  He came home sick.  He laid on the couch and cried.  His ears were red, his face was red, and he was sick to his stomach.  After a little rest, he was okay, but we never forgot that afternoon, and the physical manifestations of too much screen time.

Over the years, the limitations have changed as our children have aged.  We’ve also taken into account each individual child’s digital needs.  But, I must say, given the addictive nature of all things electronic, it has been a constant battle to teach our children balance and boundaries in the digital age.

I’ve been told our computer rules are rather strict – even in homeschooling circles.  That said, you have to make decisions based on your family’s unique identity.  Some families will allow more because more things in their home revolve around the screen.  Some families will have even less than we do because they do not have much need for screen time at all.  I’m not here to argue the finer points of giving children computer skills, or at what age they need a cell phone.  This post is simply to share OUR guidelines and methods, and offer a few thoughts for consideration.

So, let me start with giving a run down of how much time our children are on the computer and how they are using that time.

Our 17 year old son –

Recently, we gave him full control of his computer time.  We feel his computer needs have arrived at a level that he must now learn to manage his time for himself.  He has several school subjects that require computer time, and several worthy interests that revolve around the computer as well.  He keeps up with the news online, blogs, and does a tremendous amount of research for himself and our family via the internet.

We do have one stipulation for him (and the other children as well) – no games during the week.  Saturday is Computer Games Day.  The computer is a tool, and should be used as such throughout the week.

Our 14 year old daughter –

She does school and runs a blog, she is also our family photographer and requires time on the computer to edit and download photos.  We recently gave her her older brother’s time slot – 1 hour/3x a week.  She used to have 1 hour/2x a week.

She has never been one to play games on the computer, so her 1 hour of “game time” on Saturday is made up of time on Pinterest and Instagram.

10 year old daughter – 

She has no desire to do anything online, subsequently, she doesn’t have any computer time during the week, and so far, none of her school requires a computer.  She’s my Little House on the Prairie child, so I’m not sure she will ever have much of an affinity for the online world.  On Saturday, she has 40 minutes of game time, and she chooses to use her time to watch a movie on her choosing.

9 year old son –

He just started asking for computer time during the week.  He plans to use it to write a story about a knight and put together a family newsletter.  He will get 30 minutes once a week.  He has no school work that requires a computer.  On Saturday, he gets 40 minutes of game time and uses it to play games with his brothers.

6, 4, & 2 year old sons –

They only play on the computer (or other electronic device) on Saturday for 20 minutes a piece.  They tend to sit together and watch each other play, so they are spending everyone’s time in front of a screen as well.  We are happy they spend the time together, but we also want to guard against the time they are staring at a screen from being excessive.  I’ve also noticed it is very easy for them to become addicted to the screen, begging for more and more of it – every. single. day.  (We are working on a way to combat this – I’ll share when we get the results we are looking for 😉 )

How to manage your kids' screen time | RaisingArrows.net

We have a few Device Rules as well –

1.  No earbuds or headphones.  It’s been our experience that anything that shuts off your ears, shuts out others as well.  Computer time is a family experience.  We also feel it could be potentially dangerous to allow children to shut themselves off from the rest of the family with a device that has access to the internet or has the tendency to encourage escapism.  The only time we allow earbuds with devices is when our older two children needing to listen to something audio while working side by side at the computer.  We would also potentially allow them if we had a child who was easily distracted.

2.  Once you start your time on Game Day, you have to finish it.  No splitting up your time.  This came about because we had children taking 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there and stringing out their game time all day long.  It was nearly impossible for anyone to keep track of.  The exception to this is when mom and dad call the child off the computer for another purpose.  The timer is stopped and the child is allowed to return where they left off.

3.  If you are unkind or disrespectful to anyone in the house while you are using a device, it will be immediately confiscated.  One phenomena we have found in our household is that being on a device lends itself to bad attitudes and snapping at others.  I think it is because our awareness of the world around us is dulled.  We block out a lot until we are suddenly snapped back into reality and realize we are bothered by something someone is doing.

4.  Computers stay in a common area.  Closed doors and the internet are simply too tempting.

An of course, there are exceptions…

1.  French lessons – Our daughter takes French lessons via Skype.  During her lessons, she is allowed to be in her bedroom or other private area so as not to be disturbed or disturb others.  (You can read more about the website we use to take foreign language lessons via Skype HERE.)

2.  Special Night – On each child’s Special Night (which falls on a Tuesday), they are allowed to play games.  (You can read more about Special Night HERE.)

3.  You can respectfully ask for more time.  Quite often, my 14 year old will ask for more time to finish a blog post, edit a photo to send off, or finish one more chapter in the novel she’s writing.  9 times out of 10, if one of the children respectfully asks for a little more time on the computer, we will grant it.

How to keep track of the time children spend on the computer.

Use a Timer

Managing Computer Time for Your Kids | RaisingArrows.net

For years, we just used a good old fashioned kitchen timer to keep track of computer time.  Have the child who is going to be on the computer check in with you, set the time and keep it in a place where everyone can hear it when it goes off.

We often use our phones to set a timer as well.  When you set it, make sure you have it on a sound you can hear well and the volume on your phone is turned up!

Most internet browsers have a timer extension you can download that will appear right in the browser.  These are good for older (responsible) children who can set their own time and have the self-control to stop when the timer goes off.

There are also apps that will lock you out of websites once you’ve used up your time on that site; however, I haven’t found those to be real practical.

How to help children learn to manage their own computer time.

From the time your children are very young, they need to be taught balance and moderation.  There are several ways you can help them learn to manage and be accountable for the time they spend using an electronic device.

Computer Time Notebook

Managing Your Kids' Computer Time | RaisingArrows.net

Keep a small Computer Time Notebook near the computer area and have each child sign in when they get on the computer.  From there, they are to immediately set their timer or ask mom or dad or an older sibling to set it for them.

You could even require them to write down what they did during their time on the computer as a further measure of accountability.  This would be a good way for them to see where they are spending their time and if they might need to change how much time they are spending on certain sites in order to give them more time on another.

Name Tags/Cards & Hooks

Managing Your Kids' Computer Time | Raising Arrows

We use old countertop samples that have holes drilled through the top and the children’s names written on them in permanent marker as Computer Cards.  (photos will be added later)  However, you could use just about anything you can hang on a hook like keychains or one of these tags – just as long as you can personalize them.

Managing Computer Time for Your Kids | Raisingarrows.netcomputer time tag idea2

It is especially helpful if the tags are different colors so even the youngest of children can know which tag is theirs.  (Or you can use a symbol for your younger children.) Write each child’s name (or symbol) on a different color and be sure they know which is theirs.

Put your hooks side by side on a wall or cupboard, and hang the cards/tags on one side.  When the child wants to start their computer time, they either come to you to move their name tag over or they move it over themselves and start their time.  This has been helpful with my little ones who need something tangible to show them they no longer have any computer time left.  They are also learning to make better choices with when they take their time because they don’t want to be done by 9 am with the rest of the day ahead of them and not another chance at computer time.  It’s been a win-win situation because they are choosing to do other things to occupy their time and then taking their computer time later in the day.

No matter how you choose to set boundaries on your child’s computer/device time, I still feel it is very important to do so.  (I do not agree with this article that says screen time should be unlimited.)  There is a time to start letting go and letting your child learn to set boundaries themselves, but that time should come slowly and with great fear and trembling.  Your children will more than likely struggle at some point throughout their lives to keep the devices and screen time under control.  Setting good examples and limitations now will help them navigate those times when they will have to ratchet back on their own.

What are some of your favorite tips for keeping track of your kids’ computer time?  Feel free to share in the comments section! 

Other posts you might like:
Weaning from the Screen
How to Get a Mommy Break Without the Help of the Television

Being a Wife When the Kids Take All Your Energy

The day started with a bang.  Literally.  My glass mixing bowl in pieces all over the tile floor.  Next came a whiny child who was certain the multiplication tables were trying to kill her.  Then came the brothers who couldn’t seem to stop jumping off the furniture and knocking each other down in the process.  My teens needed a couple of hours of heart-to-hearts with me, and my newborn needed to be changed and fed.  And the toddler?  Oh no?!  Where was the toddler?!

I know I looked bedraggled when my husband walked through the door.  I couldn’t help it.  It had been a day.  It seems like it is ALWAYS “a day.”

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be there for him, but there was no way I could be.  I had spent the entire day in damage control, and there were still several more hours of it to go. Not a chance was my husband going to make my priority list that day.

Sound familiar?

wife graphic

Thankfully, I don’t make a habit of this, but many women do.  Not because they mean to push their husbands to the backburner, but because they are barely surviving their own lives day in and day out, to the point they absolutely cannot see a way to grab a big enough break to spend time with their spouse.

They don’t have enough time to be a wife because it took everything they had to be a mom.

How to be a Wife When Your Kids Take All Your Energy | RaisingArrows.netWhen you have a house full of obligations 4 1/2 feet and under, life is hard.  You often lose sight of how these little people got here in the first place!  But I firmly believe a strong marriage will actually HELP your ability to mother these little ones, so let’s talk…

Keep in touch via phone, text, or email throughout the day.  Keeping in touch with your husband is the key to keeping your marriage at the forefront of your mind.  In this day and age, nearly every wife has instantaneous access to her husband via some form of digital communication.  Try to stay connected during your day and you will find it easier to stay connected when he is home because both of you are aware of what has gone on in your respective domains throughout the day.

Try to knock out the big stuff before he gets home.  Sometimes I have a major blog post I want to write or I need to go shopping sans children, but I try not to take up “our time” with projects.  If you do need to do a big project, try to do it together (or at the very least, in each other’s presence.)  An example of this would be going grocery shopping together.

Take a nap – if you can.  Yes, I know – a mom of many littles is probably not going to get a nap.  This is one of those things that comes and goes, but is such a blessing if you can manage it.  I’ve had some seasons where I’ve been able to successfully implement a Rest Time for everyone in the house, so you might try that first.  You are WAY more refreshed when your husband comes home.  But, if you cannot manage something of that scale, try to get a decent night’s sleep and try to find some time shortly before he comes home to unwind.  Find a place to take a break and prepare your heart and mind for your husband’s return.

Establish a bedtime (or rest time).  We are a Routine Family.  Our life doesn’t fit neatly into rectangles on a spreadsheet, but I do try to have a round-about bedtime set for the kids, and most of the time, we adhere to it.

I will tell you that having bigger kids has made having a bedtime MUCH harder.  Big kids don’t like to go to bed at 8 pm.  What we ask of our bigger kids is that they respect “our time” and take that time to rest or relax.  Yes, they would certainly LOVE to watch the movie we are watching, but they understand that isn’t always feasible.

Have a ritual or tradition that is just for you and your husband.  For us, it has become coffee on the front porch before Ty heads to work.  No one is allowed out there with us.  I have to admit, the younger ones like to call to us through the windows giving their nine million reasons why they NEED to come out there.  (You know, things like they are just checking the weather or they thought they heard us call them out there.)  So, our coffee time isn’t always peaceful, but child training is occurring, and our children are well aware of how important that Mommy-Daddy time is.

Traditions and rituals are signposts for a marriage.  They tell our story.  They keep us connected.  They create memories – not only for us, but for our children who see how important this thing called marriage is.

Make the Fruit of the Spirit the fruit of your marriage.  Ty and I have been talking a lot lately about the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  A lot may divide marriages (and Christians, for that matter), but if our lives, marriages, and homes are characterized by these Fruits, little else matters.

For more great ideas to keeping your marriage a priority, check out these posts:

Frugal Date Nights

How to Make the Most of a Day Out with Your Husband

Marriage-Centered Family – my guest post on To Love Honor and Vacuum

Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Marriage on Pinterest.

How to Get a Mommy-Break Without the Help of the Television

We’ve all done it.

It’s too noisy.  It’s too wild.  It’s too stressful.  We need a mommy break, so we turn on the television and plop those crazy little people in front of the screen so they will be contained and occupied.

Let the big black box babysit for a while – Mommy needs to catch her breath.

How to Get a Mommy-Break Without the Help of the Television | RaisingArrows.net

We don’t like to admit it, but when the going gets tough, the television (or computer) saves the day.

Sort of…

The problem that comes from using the television as a regular babysitter is that we and our children become dependent on the feeling of being entertained.  It is a fine line between a healthy use of screen time and an unhealthy use of screen time.

Certainly, there are seasons when we don’t even realize the television watching is getting out of control.  We often “wake up” from those seasons, only to realize we have a lot of work to do weaning our children from the screen.  However, there are many times when we want to do better with not using the television as a babysitter, but we can’t think of anything that will occupy the children and offer us the break we feel we need.  So, we default to our old habits, and let them watch “one more show”.

Today, I want to offer you a few alternatives to television when Mommy needs to catch her breath.  Not that I’m asking you to stop letting your kids watch television altogether, but because I know you feel guilty putting them in front of the screen as often as you do, yet you can’t think of anything quite as effective.

Alternatives to plopping the kids in front of the television when you need a Mommy Break | RaisingArrows.net

First of all, here’s a short YouTube video from my channel discussing how we handle television in our home. I want you to start here before we talk more in depth about ideas for keeping the children occupied without it.

The second thing I want you to do is ask yourself WHY you need a break.  Make sure you aren’t running after that elusive Me Time.  If you have a habit of running away from your real life, then alternatives to television aren’t what you really need.  What you really need is a heart to heart with yourself and God.  That’s not the focus of this post, but it had to be said before moving on.

OK, so now let’s talk about alternatives to television and screen time…

There are tons of great audios out there that require your children to use their imaginations.  Some of our favorites are the Jonathan Park series and the Brinkman Adventures.  Put the kids in a room with a CD player and give yourself a few moments to breathe while they enjoy some quality, brain-engaging entertainment.

Some of you are probably thinking I’m out of my mind for suggesting crafts as something that would give mommy a break, but if you keep a craft bag with things in it that aren’t super messy (i.e. anything but glitter), then you can pull that bag out every now and then and keep the children occupied for hours on end.

Even if you have to go outside with the children, taking some time in the out-of-doors, is a great way for everyone to change up their routine and get reenergized.  Have things like bubbles and chalk available for an added bonus!

Room Time
This is a concept I learned from Tricia at Hodgepodge.  Not only does Room Time help to keep children occupied when you need a break, but it is a great way to teach your children to sit quietly while you do school with older kids.  You can read more about this concept HERE.

Have older kids babysit
Way better than television is an older child spending time with their siblings.  Specify how much time you need and give them some activity ideas.

This can’t be an unsupervised break, but I have found just sitting and reading while the kids play in the bathtub is quite relaxing.  You can also use the bathtub as their own private play place.  Dry out the tub, fill with toys and kids, and let them have a ball!  (You can also let them stand at the kitchen sink pretending to “wash dishes” with plastic dishes – I remember doing this as a kid!)

Take a ride
There have been times when I needed a moment to think, and I’ve loaded up the children and we’ve gone for a ride!  Roll down the windows, play some relaxing music, get the kids a drink or snack, and just drive a bit.

Isolate yourself for a moment
This has to be very purposeful because you do not want to zone out for too long, but taking yourself outside or isolating yourself in your bedroom for a time can do wonders for getting back to the top of your game.  It doesn’t take long if you tell yourself you don’t need long.

Give your children a task
By giving your children a focused task, you give yourself a moment to breathe.  This needs to be something simple like picking up sticks in the yard or wiping down walls with a rag.  While they do the task, you take a breather elsewhere.  This will give you about 10-15 minutes.

Have them read a book
Even if they are too young to read, give them a picture book and have them take some down time.  This is something you should start young and do often!  Not only are you getting a break, you are fostering a love of reading!

Be creative
Sometimes all it takes is a cardboard box to keep them entertained for hours!  Look around you for things that are out of their norm that would give them a creative outlet and give you a little bit of a brain break.

And lastly…

Teach your children to be quiet
Play the quiet game.  Offer rewards for the quietest child.  Whatever it takes to help your children learn that when Mommy needs it quiet, she NEEDS IT QUIET.  This is a process, but a very good lesson for your children to learn.  You will be able to afford them many opportunities if they have been taught the importance of being quiet on demand.  This serves a much higher purpose than just giving you a break, so be diligent!

While this is not an exhaustive list of ideas, I hope it gives you a place to start.  The television truly does have a mesmerizing effect on children (and most adults!), but it isn’t much for getting creative juices flowing or offering quality engagement of the brain.  It should be used rarely and with caution.


Feel free to share how you take a break without plopping the kids in front of the television!

Teens and Money – Transitioning from Childhood to Adulthood Finances

Several years ago, I wrote a post about how we handle money with our children.  I spelled out our philosophy on allowances, paying for chores, and what jobs our children could do for extra pay.  At the time, our oldest was 13, and while the principles have stayed the same, the practice has change a bit now that he is advancing quickly toward adulthood.  I thought it might be a good time to offer a new perspective on money as it concerns the teenagers in our home.

(You can read that original post HERE.)

Learn how to make the transition from childhood finances to adulthood with your teen | RaisingArrows.net

Teens and Allowances

I mentioned in my Children and Chores post that we do not pay for chores and we do not give our children an allowance.  This continues into their teens.  The principle behind this is the fact that in adulthood, there are responsibilities a person has toward the upkeep and running of a household that is not a paid job.  Our goal is to teach our children to take care of those responsibilities without needing to be paid or praised for them.  It is simply something that is expected.  Our society no longer places value on a job well done for the sake of doing a job well done.  Too many people expect accolades for their effort, and too many people feel a responsibility that lacks excitement and financial gain isn’t worth their time.  I do not want my children to follow this tide.

I also want to add that I do understand the reasoning behind giving teens an allowance in order to teach money management; however, I do not believe unearned money is the best way to do this.  When the money is simply handed to you, you have no real connection to that money, so the concept of money management doesn’t have the impact it has when it is money earned by the teen.  But, how do they earn money if not by allowance?

Teens and Income Within the Family

Way teens can earn money, as well as money management tips as they move into adulthood | RaisingArrows.net

As I mentioned in the previous post on this topic, we pay for jobs that are “above and beyond” the expected.  For instance, we do not pay for babysitting when one of us needs to run to the store, but we will pay for babysitting if we need to be gone for several hours.  This is something we would have to pay someone else to do if it weren’t done by our teenagers.  Same goes for detailing the vehicle or major handyman jobs.

We also allow grandparents to pay a fair wage when the children go to help with a big project.  We encourage our children to serve their extended family, but we also know that the grandparents would rather pay our children than have to hire the work done outside the family.

Because this money is earned, it is more useful for teaching money management.  More on that in a moment…

Teens & Jobs Outside the Home

Many teenagers like to get jobs outside the home to have some spending money of their own.  There area two sides to this coin that need to be considered carefully before diving headlong into an outside job.

On one side, a job teaches responsibility to someone other than a parent, as well as teaching time management.  Both of these are very valuable lessons.

On the flip side, is the fact that an outside job (unless it is very flexible) has the tendency to separate the family and create a lot of scheduling chaos.  In the last city we lived in, our son had a very flexible job as a trapper at a sporting clays lodge.  This allowed us to take family vacations, work around his schooling, and not be beholden to his job.  Since the move, we have encouraged him to wait on taking a job, and not take just any job.  While we do not want to teach him that certain jobs are “beneath him” or that it is better to do nothing than take a job that isn’t “perfect”, we also know he has the rest of his life to work, and only another year or so to be fully a part of all family activities.  Because of this, we have been praying for another flexible job that would give him some outside money while allowing him to participate in family activities.  (He already has something in the works, but I don’t want to jump the gun telling you about it until we see how it pans out. 😉 )

Another thing we encourage when it comes to working an outside job, is looking for a job that will teach or further a skill.  While flipping hamburgers is definitely a job that will make your teen some spending cash, it is not always a job that will teach him or her a needed skill or hone a skill they already possess.  A good example of this is the sporting clays job.  While Blake has no desire to spend his life throwing skeet, he would like to own his own business some day.  The lodge he worked at was owned by a family who were more than willing to teach him the ins and outs of owning a business.  He was also exposed to all the people with varying careers who came to shoot.  In between stands, he was able to chit chat with them, exchange business cards (we highly recommend your teen considers having business cards made up for networking purposes), and learn more about their vocation and businesses.  He always came home from work with great information and stories.

Teens & Money Management

How you choose to teach money management is a matter of personal preference.  My son decided to use the 80-10-10 method (80% spending, 10% savings, 10% tithe) for his finances, but more often than not, he ends up putting even more into savings.

When I was a teen, I used mason jars to separate out my money.  I had 4 jars:

  • 1 – Savings
  • 2 – Miscellaneous Spending
  • 3 – Tithe
  • 4 – Specific Savings (This is how I saved up money to have my pickup windows tinted.)

You can use the envelope method.  You can actually open checking and savings accounts in your teen’s name.  You can even do some investing if you so choose.

Speaking of investing – if your son or daughter has a talent or skill that has the potential to be an income generator, consider investing in their “business” the way you would invest in a college fund.  For instance, our daughter is a budding photographer.  She’s good at what she does and she’s serious about it.  Because of this, we’ve chosen to help purchase photography supplies and lenses, and helped her start up a more professional website.  (We usually offer half the money she needs for something.)

We also invest in our children by sometimes “paying” them in other ways.  For instance, our daughter chose several years ago to sponsor a Compassion Child.  The photography work she does on this blog and for our family pays for that sponsorship.  Likewise, we have compensated our son for major jobs by paying his way to an event he’s really wanting to participate in that would be money out of his pocket otherwise (like TeenPact National Convention or pheasant hunting in South Dakota).

Compensate your teens for major jobs by paying their way to events and outings they are interested in, but would have to pay out of pocket for. | RaisingArrows.net

Items we regularly require our teenagers to pay include, but are not limited to, the following:

Travel expenses to events they want to go to – this teaches them not to take transportation and food for granted, and not to order the steak when the hamburger will do.

Extra tools and clothing for their job –  A pair of gloves, a pair of jeans, a pair of boots – these are things we are willing to fund fully, or at least half, but extra items that are wants and not needs are paid for by our teen.  For instance, when he worked at the shooting lodge, he decided he’d like to have a pick stick to pick up shotgun shells several at a time.  He found the one he wanted and purchased it with his own money.

This would also be our policy if our children played sports.  We will pay for the basics, they are in charge of anything extra – including an upgrade on shoes from the very basic of models.

“Toys” & Entertainment – Even big kids have toys, and those toys (unless they are gifts for birthdays or Christmas) are not funded by mom and dad.  My son airsofts.  Your child may like video games or sports or certain collectibles.  As adults, we are expected to fund our own entertainment.  The sooner a teenager learns that, the better off they will be.  They won’t grow to expect others to carry the responsibility of paying for their unnecessary items.

This brings me to the final point of this post.  Our teens are expected to be responsible with their money and their time.  As they age, they are given more and more privileges, leeway, and choices.  About 6 months ago, we gave our son nearly total control of his finances.  This past week, we gave him nearly total control of his schedule.  He is a man.  He’s proven this time and again, so it was time for us to let go.  As long as he lives under our roof, we have some control over his finances and time, but that control is nominal.  We are here to lend advice and ideas as needed, but we are transitioning away from planning every aspect of his life and into a new season where he plans his present and prepares for his future.

How do you handle money with your children – especially your teens?  Have you found the transition to be difficult?  What are your goals when it comes to teaching your children money management?  Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section!