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The Family Team
New Chore Sticks
Consequence Spinner
Family Finances
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Please join us any way you can!  One thing that is so rewarding about owning Fisherkids is that we feel connected to a very large parenting base....and it is reassurance that we are all dealing with the same things! It cracks me up when someone says to me (or I hear myself say), "OMG. Don't judge me by the [insert condition of house here]."  Don't we all have dishes in the sink, laundry on the couch, dust on our furniture, or Legos all over the house? Oh wait....please tell me that's not just me!

Anyway, join us!  We have this newsletter, a blog, video blog, instagram, facebook, pinterest, google plus, linked in, twitter, a video guide, and even an app that desperately needs updating (we're saving for it!)  We are utterly exhausted just typing all the ways you can join our mission to raise responsible children.

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january, 2015 newsletter

First of all, many apologies for the brief hiatus from our newsletters.  Not that all of you chomping at the bit to hear the ding in your inbox from our newsletter, but it is certainly one of the things that sets us apart from your typical chore chart....we offer motivation, tips, advice, and more as you raise responsible children.  We have had a LOT going on in our family life since August and although we are ever grateful that we are all safe, healthy and happy, I had to put family first.  Many thanks for your understanding!

So here we go!  2015!  The New Year is always a refreshing time, don't you think?  For me, this holiday season was the most reflective time of my life, for many reasons that I will not bore you with here...but suffice it to say, I am excited about the possibilities this year brings.

Our family wishes you all the best in 2015.  Whether you are excited or nervous, celebrating or grieving, energetic or tired, may your glass remain half full.  One thing The Beck Family has learned lately is that although things may not be going the way we planned, perhaps this way is the better alternative to what could have been a much less favorable path.  Many thanks to all of you for your patience as we get back to our monthly newsletters!

The Beck Family
 the family team

We discuss this every New Year, but it is worth repeating.  We are teaching our children that they are part of the family team, and in order for the team to win, we all chip in so we can get out the door on time!   

So this is a great time to change up the responsibility magnet.  You will probably be surprised that the responsibilities you had on the magnet previously have now become habitual!  Keep the responsibilities/lessons age appropriate, but remember that although we look at our children through baby goggles (how dare they grow up!), our children do age and can take on new responsibilities!

So shake up the routine.  Give your kids something new to do as part of the family team!  It is actually quite liberating to have some things taken off your plate as they kids help out more simply because the family respects each other.
 new year, new tasks

Much to our children's chagrin, it's time to change up their chore sticks.  We are a bit behind on this because of everything going on in our lives the past few months, so our kids are still on summer chore sticks!  Things like: 20 push ups, 100 jumping jacks, just to get them moving and off the netflix marathons have become their go-to chore sticks.  They are going to be shocked to their core when they come home today after school to find all new chore sticks and all new family responsibilities!  Woohoo!  Mama is going to get some help with the cooking!
 consequence spinner

We love this spinner.  It keeps us from shouting at the top of our lungs that Henry will never see the light of day because he is grounded until he is 40.  The other reason we love this spinner is because it teaches consequences for actions.  Life is full of choices and I know many  people who lack any and all regard for consequences.  The sooner we can teach our children the contingencies of choices, the better.  What is beautiful about this spinner is that once the children use it a few times, it hopefully becomes unnecessary except for the rare occasions when our children leave their brains in bed for the day.

{SIDEBAR: we added in the "grace space" to teach children that everyone makes mistakes and occasionally, a little grace goes a long way.  However, please do not be under the assumption that Greg Beck will often preface the spin with "grace space doesn't count." C'mon....we've all been there.}
 how much to share about the family budget

This is an interesting topic,  one that varies from family to family.  It is definitely an age-appropriate topic as well... every child is different and you know your child best.  What we DON'T want to happen is have our children living on their own with no knowledge of a budget, fiscal responsibility, or ability to manage saving/giving/spending.  We also don't want our children to be entitled, spoiled, or have no clue as to the value of a dollar.  On the flipside, we certainly don't want our children stressed out about the household finances.  Hence the conundrum.  What to do, what to do.....

Using the responsibility station, you will be reinforcing the basics of fiscal responsibility: give, save, spend.  Every time your child is paid for the tasks you are teaching so (s)he can one day live independently, your child is learning what to do with his/her money.  A lot of people ask me why we pay for chores.  Well, we designed our station to teach two lessons: 1) There are some things we do simply to help out the family team.  We aren't paid for them, unless you count smiles, kisses, and gratitude a form of currency.  2) In life, we aren't just ALLOWED money (allowance)...we earn it and spend it (hopefully) wisely.  So there must be a way to have our children earn the money, and what better way to have them earn it than with life lessons so they will be better suited to one day support their own family.

We will already be teaching basic financial principles.  But how and when should we advance to budgeting and reinforcing the costs of raising a family?  I think there is a level of respect for the dollar that has to come first: understanding why we can't just jump on a plane to DisneyWorld; why we can't just add in the super cool flavored sprakling bottled waters for lunches; or even why we can't just pop in the car and go to the movies on a moment's notice.  Everyone's family restraints are different, so putting things in age-appropriate perspective is important.  We got in a bad habit around the holidays of stopping by Sonic for a slush after school or when we were our running errands.  So we recently told the kids that's something that isn't healthy (body and budget) and it won't continue.  Our middle daughter said she could pay for we had the discussion that even if you could afford it, should you? Then we added it up: if we spent $2 each on a slush after school twice a week ($16 per week), then we spend $832 in a year on slushes!  $832 hit home a lot more than $2.  Then we equated the $832 to things like plane tickets, electric bills, mortgages, savings, etc.  It was a much better discussion than if I just said, "Because I said so."

But there can be too much info to a child.  We certainly don't want our children to stress out over something they have no control over.  I had a discussion with a friend just this morning that our kids need to know that financial discussions (what we always call "money problems") are completely normal in a relationship and every budget, no matter how big or how small, has restraints.  We should have this discussion with our's normal and healthy and RESPONSIBLE to discuss finances as a couple so that we can achieve a common goal.  Depending on your child's age, they can be a part of the discussion, the goal, and the means to reach the goal.

Finally, it is important to introduce budgeting.  Our oldest daughter just opened a checking account.  She makes money babysitting as well as what she earns from her responsibility station.  She has used the transaction register we sell for years.  But as soon as the plastic debit card was in her hands, she realized that if she doesn't keep track and plan the dollars, it will disappear much quicker than it appeared. 

As our children near college (perhaps sooner if your child can handle it), it is important to know the reality of bills.  I know I was suckerpunched by the utility company when I lived on my own.  And the water company....whoa! Don't get me started.  And groceries???? Are you kidding me???  It is shocking when we finally realize where our money HAS to go before we can spend it where we WANT it to go.  So introduce slowly, with open communication and lots of analogies.  {I really want to use a reference to an excellent Cosby Show episode but in light of recent events I will refrain.}
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do to support our family-run business.  Please be sure to subscribe to our blog, download our Parent's Guide, and much more, all from our homepage,!
The Beck Family