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What is the value of a dollar anyway?

Five Dollars It was one of those moments as a mom that I found myself wondering if this is one of those battles I needed to pick.

I had trusted the boys to take $5 in cash to reload their lunch accounts that morning, something I had never let them do on their own before.  I was in a rush that morning and didn't have time to go by the school office myself and the boys reassured me it wasn't a problem.  I handed them each a $5 bill and watched as they tucked them deep in to their pockets.  As I dropped them off at the gate I reminded them to head straight to the office to put the money on their accounts.  "Yes, Mom, we know, we know" was repeated back to me over and over again. 

My mother's intuition was going off like no other.  I knew this wasn't going to go smoothly.

By the end of the day, things were hectic and I forgot to ask them again if they had reloaded their accounts.  In fact, I didn't remember until the next morning to ask.  The look on their faces that morning said everything - they had forgotten.  But what was worse... was my oldest had lost the money (it was evident from his expression), while my youngest immediately ran to dug it out of his shorts he had worn the day before.

It's important to me that my kids understand the value of a dollar.  I don't want them to grow up not appreciating the little things.  Maybe I was a bit too rushed that morning and frustrated with running late, or maybe I didn't have enough coffee yet.  But, my reaction was to pick this battle. 

I struggled with how to emphasize that $5 doesn't seem like much... but it is still important to be careful with it.  How do you teach an eight year old the value of money?  I didn't know if I had gotten the point across until he went running to his room and came back a minute later, a fistful of dollar bills in his hand. 

"It's okay Mom... here's $5 from my wallet, it's my tooth fairy money.  I can use this for my lunch account!"

It was in that moment I knew he got it.  There was a problem and he solved it.  I couldn't have been more proud of him in that moment.

And for the curious... I had him take that money back to his wallet and I gave him a new $5 bill from my wallet to put on his account that morning.  This time neither of them forgot to take the money to the office to reload their lunch account.


This is an original Orange County Moms Blog post. Catch more posts by Katie over at OCMomActivities where you can read Mom-isms, enter cool giveaways, learn cost saving shortcuts to being a mom and find out about fun activities in and around Orange County, CA. You can also follow Katie on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook


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