Getting through the day, one cup at a time.

Take A Penny, Leave A Penny; Earn A Penny, Give A Penny

on April 28, 2012

I give my kids an allowance.

 Photo from:

Along with stickers and small toys, money is another way I bribe my kids reward good behaviour.

Recently, Kira found a rogue crayon half. I don’t know where she found it, but I can only assume that she slipped it up her sleeve the last time we coloured, and then hid it in between the couch cushions or down a heating vent until she needed it. Then she coloured on the wall with it. More correctly, she coloured on two walls.

Shock. This was before my first cup of coffee too.

Luckily, baby wipes are super awesome at removing crayons from walls (at least in my house they are) so I grabbed a wipe and was on my way to clean off the crayon whenAllyasked if she could clean it.

Okay? I gave her the baby wipe and watched her clean the crayon off at a snail’s pace. I restrained my urge to jump in and do it for her, because 1) I need to calm down and step back, and 2) I didn’t want to undermine her efforts to help out around the house. Kira whined the whole time about how she wanted to clean, so when Ally finished removing the crayon I passed the wipe over to Kira and let her rub it all over the wall for a while.

I thanked Ally for her help, and pointed out that volunteering to do jobs is quite commendable. I offered her a nickel for her hard work and asked her to put it in her piggy bank. Then she stood there and waited expectantly.


“Aren’t you going to give Kira a nickel?” she asked. Of course I said no, Kira was the one who had made the mess. Ally cleaned it up, and then Kira just rubbed the wipe on the wall. Ally was quite insistent that Kira cleaned ‘just a little bit’ so she deserved some allowance too. This isn’t the first time that this has happened.

Thanks to Ally’s generosity, I find myself frequently paying Kira for not contributing to the cleaning process because she’s not even two yet and doesn’t quite understand the concept of cleaning. I just can’t bring myself to deny Ally her desire to ‘spread the wealth’ or most importantly stand up for her little sister to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.

Perhaps I’m a pushover, but I like to think that I’m encouraging her burning desire for equality. My small victory? If Kira doesn’t do anything then she gets a PityPenny from my wallet. One cent for being related to a hardworking girl. I’d expect that pretty soon she’ll start cleaning just as well as her sister and I will have to pay twice as much to have chores done, but that’s part of being a mom.

Bribery = clean house


7 responses to “Take A Penny, Leave A Penny; Earn A Penny, Give A Penny

  1. lorajbanks says:

    I’m always telling people without kids, parenting is basically just a combination of bribery, manipulation and hope. And as far as sending the wrong message to Kira, it’s not a bad trait to have; getting other people to do the work you get paid for. I’ve had many bosses who honed that skill quite impressively, and they were always far more successful than I! She’ll be fine.

    P.S. I’m also telling myself so because the same stuff goes down in our house daily. Nice post!

  2. Sleeping Mom says:

    That’s sweet of her to stand up for her sister! Well maybe not for your wallet 😉

  3. Haha – what if you told her, “That is so generous of you; let me break that nickle for you so you can share!” I wonder if she’d still feel that Kira had earned it? 😉 Of course, I’m just kidding! I think it’s very nice that she’s thinking of her sister and not being greedy or self-centered.

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