A client of mine is a parenting coach/teacher so I have been absorbing some of her techniques and pushing them onto our little family unit here in Texas. One of the things recommended is family meetings. There are four components to this event:

  1. Appreciations – everyone goes around the table and says one thing they appreciate about each person.
  2. Contributions – household responsibilities are assigned (i.e. clean the kitchen, take out the trash, etc.).
  3. Problem Solving – come up with a solution to any problems that arise during the week.
  4. Allowance – weekly allowances are distributed.

The key to starting up family meetings is to take it slow. So far we have mastered the appreciations and this weekend we added in allowances. Here’s a little recap of how the meeting went:

  • Everyone appreciated each other (Ripken appreciated mommy going to the grocery store and then appreciated daddy going to the grocery store. We both happened to have taken Rip to the grocery store this past week).
  • Allowance: Let me give a little background on allowances before I get into the fun stuff. Allowances are handed out each week to those that attend the family meeting and participate. Allowances are not tied to chores but instead are given so kids can start learning how to manage money. Once they start receiving an allowance, Mommy & Daddy stop buying toys or any other non-necessities. For example, should Rip want a new car (yes, he still LOVES cars), he would need to purchase using his own money. Any money found in pockets, on the floor or generally not putting away, the money then goes into the ‘vacation jar’. Ok, since this was our first time for allowance, we spent a couple of minutes explaining to Rip what allowance was all about and then he was given his first allowance ($3, 1 dollar for each year). He was super excited and then said he was going to buy a wallet to hold his money…I thought Kirk was going to break down into tears of joy! As an interim holder, Rip put his money in a plastic container that used to hold some CDs. Today, Rip wanted to go to the grocery store with Mommy and remembered to bring his money. In the store he insisted on buying his Fruit Loops. I tried to get him to let my buy them and he could buy a toy, but he was insistent on buying the cereal and then proceeded to eat four bowls of cereal when he got home. He was absolutely beaming about his first purchase and how the Fruit Loops were his and he was going to keep them up in the cabinet. It was great!! I know we have a LONG way to go until he truly grasps the concept of managing/saving money, but it was a great start. Oh, and he did leave the change from his purchase in Mommy’s car so that will be going in the vacation jar tomorrow 🙂

So, we’ll be doing this family meeting for a couple of months before we start adding in the contributions. Kirk and I have to put together a plan on what we want Rip to start doing. Meanwhile we’ll keep you posted on how the money situation progresses.


Riley enjoying some topless time in the exersaucer.

Ripken (in the orange hat) and his friend Devon hiking up a hill. We’ve taken to doing a little bit of hiking in Austin and Rip loves it!