Counting money.

Counting money is not something, like colors, that is simply acquired. It has to be worked on and developed – at least it does with my child. Part of what we are doing with counting money is learning to save money and earn money.

Here he is counting and sorting the money he has earned from chores.

First – counting money.

I had Nicholas take out his piggy bank – which is just a converted Ikea box. He had to sort all the coins by shape and size. Once that was done, I took 1 quarter, 2 dimes, 5 nickels, and 25 pennies and put them to the side.  I showed him the quarter and said it was worth 25 cents. Then I showed him the dime and said it was worth 10 cents and told him to get a quarter out of dimes he would need 2.5 dimes. Then we did nickels (5 cents). He was able to tell me that 2 nickels make a dime and 5 nickels make a quarter. With the pennies I told him each one was worth 1 cent. He then told me that 5 pennies make a nickel, 10 pennies make a dime, and 25 pennies make a quarter.

Lastly, I showed him a dollar bill from my wallet and told him that he needed 4 quarters or 10 dimes, or 20 nickels, or 100 pennies to make a dollar.

Then we counted what he had. We counted the quarters first, then the dimes, nickels, and pennies. I had him write down how many of each coin he had. Then I did the conversion into dollars and cents for him. He was devastated to learn he only had $3.27 – after all he had a lot of coins.

Second – saving and earning money.

He then told me he wanted to save him money for a Lightening McQueen toy. I told him that such toys normally cost $5.00. We figured out how much more money he needed – I wrote out the subtraction equation and he did the subtraction. He now knows he needs $1.73 to get his Lightening McQueen toy. So we made up way he can earn money and lose money.

We decided on certain extra chores he can do around the house. His chores are currently taking his laundry into the washer, dusting, cleaning toys each night, and cleaning his sink on Tuesdays. He decided that each square of tile he cleans should be worth a penny. I said that I would do 2 squares for a penny. He said okay (The tile squares are 18 inches by 18 inches). He also wants to be able to clean toilets – so he can have 2 pennies per toilet. He will get 5 cents for putting dishes away from the dishwasher. Those he can’t put away, he has to put on the kitchen counter so I can put them away. We made up a nice chart with each chores and the amount he can earn. Then we made a chart he doesn’t like – how to lose money.

Nicholas loses money for not following directions, not behaving during quiet time, hitting, calling people names, and fighting with his sister. He can also lose money for bad behavior. That chart is up right next to the “How to earn money,” chart.

Finally, we went around the house and talked about how much things cost. We did a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, the TV, shoes, computers, phones, and the car. I know the concept of hundreds of dollars or thousands of dollars is hard for him to grasp, but it was important that he learn how much money things cost so he can be more careful with things in the future. This way he doesn’t ask for all kinds of stuff too.

I’m hoping that he will take this lesson and stop asking for everything because I want him to know that things cost money and sometimes we don’t have the money to buy more toys. So I’m hoping that we are beginning to learn about money and common sense with money.

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