Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How-To Tuesday: How to Survive Spring Break



Today's How-To Tuesday comes to you courtesy of a genius idea the Husband had this weekend while we were on our little stay-cation. (No, it is not his How To Ignore Your Children While They Are Vomiting In The Night Idea. It's one I actually liked.)

As I mentioned yesterday, it is spring break around here. Which is really just school jargon for a week where the kids whine because they're bored, fight because they're annoyed, and end up costing me a small fortune in entertainment (which, nine times out of ten, they are bored by, fight at, and in general, annoy me as a result of).

The Husband's brilliant idea was this: We estimated the amount of money we would likely be spending for entertainment during spring break. Between movies, eating out, various museums/bowling/skating/jumping and whatever else they conned me into doing, there is always a big chunk of change. We took this amount and presented it to the kids in a large pile of cash. We told them the rules were this:

1. Whatever we did this week is going to be completely up to them (and they all have to agree amongst themselves about the activities). They can spend the money however they want on whatever activities they feel like.

2. Whatever money is left over, they can keep and split three ways.

3. Since THEY are choosing the activities, there will be no whining/fighting/teasing allowed. If any such behavior ensues, money will be subtracted from the pot. This rule automatically forfeits their right to complain about pretty much anything this week. I think it's my new favorite rule ever.

4. If they choose to pocket the money and forgo fun activities/eating out - they are responsible for finding their own entertainment for the week. If anyone were to come to me stating their boredom or unhappiness with the situation, money would again be withdrawn from the pot. It removes the burden of playing cruise director from me, and puts the responsibility of that right in their own little hands.

How did they take to the proposal?

FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC, I tell you.

First, they spent an hour and a half in a meeting of the minds, discussing, prioritizing, and debating happily -- all without my involvement.

Second, once they had lists of everything they wanted to do during the week, we started pricing it all out. Yes, the zoo is free. But parking is ten dollars. And the like.

Having all the information changed their initial budgeting quite drastically. I could hear them deciding whether or not it was worth it to go out to eat. I heard them lament at the exorbitant cost of restaurant eating. I mean, drinks are like three whole dollars!?

It was music to my mama ears.

We will see how it plays out, but so far today it's been amazing, and our plans for the week look better than anything I could have come up with. Plus, it provides a little lesson in budgeting for them with tangible, actual dollars. It gives them the freedom of choice, and the responsibility for their own happiness. I think the Husband may have stumbled upon his most genius idea yet.

Your turn. What can you teach me to do today?



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25 comments:

Julianna said...

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

I have always taught budgeting to my kids... they gave up McDonalds on their own once for 6 months because they wated to go to 6 flags. :)

Sadly, if I did that now, Youngest would most likely hoard his share and devise a plan for world domination... it's what he's really into now a days.

Cares and Mimi said...

Genius! What an awesome idea. Will be letting the children do this for many Summer activities. Gee, I wonder what they'll plan? Were you surprised by anything your kids planned for the week? Wonderful idea!!!!! - Cares

jen@odbt said...

Brilliant! So will we learn what fun activities they choose to do?

Karey said...

Great idea! Glad your spring break is before our spring break.

Lizzy said...

One of the most important things to do in life is to raise self-reliant, responsible, thinking children. Congratulations, you rock. Now, ALL of you will enjoy spring break. (And, speaking of such, kids sure have a lot of BREAKS! I considered it a boon to get out for Christmas.)

Christina B. said...

Wow, that is such a good idea! I love it! I hope I can remember it when I have kids on spring break someday. :)

Lisa-Marie said...

what a brilliant idea. i'm so excited to hear a re-cap of how the week goes.

i just got back on the blogging bandwagon and should have thought of something for HTT. (Can i be lazy and call it that?!?!?) I guess it's not too late. I'll see what I can come up with.

Thelma said...

I love it! And we have spring break coming up around here...

Tristan said...

That idea just oozes brilliance! Well done :)

Donna said...

WOW!! Terriffic idea! THE perfect solution.

Erin said...

You are so brilliant (notice I'm giving you the credit for the Hubs idea!) - but seriously, pure genius. I'm so excited to hear how the week goes with the kids decisions.

I wish we were neighbors - I would want to be your best friend so that you could teach me all your fabulous ways of instilling values into your kids and all other amazing parenting skills!

calibosmom said...

I'm totally stealing this idea for summer! I do have a question though. How do you keep one kid from spending more than another kid? Do your kids end up doing all the same activities? How do they keep track? Just wondering.

Nice3 said...

That is brillant. My kids are on the year round track system and I've been dreading the upcoming spring break and off track, THEY'LL HAVE A MONTH. Matt and I will be discussing this tonight.

Suzanne said...

This is a brilliant idea. I am definitely going to have to remember this one. Thanks for the ideas! I love how you've eliminated the arguing and all that.

Linsey said...

I love these! And, I'm participating today. What a fun idea, you brilliant girl you!

Lauren in GA said...

Holy Moly. I am actually speechless from the incredible brilliance that is this idea. I am copying this. I can't wait to read this post to Mike.

I may also read the last post about the vomit to him, too...you know, in case he gets any fancy ideas ;)

Julie said...

Lots of great info here! Linsey introduced me to you on her blog today. I'd like to join the fun next week. :)

Tristan said...

Mine is up now :)

Jessica said...

That really is genius. Love How-To Tuesdays.

I've got mine up now.

Jessica at Kids Napping? I'm Scrapping! said...

Wow. Genius. So genius. Sleeping through a vomit fest is genius, as well; you gotta admit. ;)
My children learned a good lesson about money today. They decided they would cut holes on the comforter on my bed. Oh, they are so lucky my level headed husband got to them first. My husband explained that it would take 1/2 a year's allowance to pay for another comforter. We're not making them pay for it, but we just thought they would get a roundabout price of what they had just done. Oh, those boogers. Who cuts holes in comforters?? Who??

Joy & Casey said...

GENIUS!!! Love it!
One of these days I will have something to teach you...and I will participate in this fun Tuesday ordeal...racking my brain.

Chatter said...

This is so brilliant! My kids are still young but this is a great idea in general. Well done!

Jamie said...

Simply brillant! I love this idea, we have spring break coming up & I feel your genius spilling over to my brain! I missed how to Tuesday this week, but I'm so glad I came over to catch up.

Hannah said...

Hi Mommy, I like how you made fun of Daddy! I cannot wait to tell him what you said about him! I love you!

♥Maren said...

Love the comments from your cutie. She is having fun!

And... great idea!