The Best Currency Ever

I remember a long, long time ago, diligently reading parenting books.  I wanted to get a handle on child behavior early on so that I didn’t end up with that crazy backsassing kid.  You know the one I am talking about.

One thing that stuck with me early on is the concept of a child’s personal currency.  Personal currency is the thing that really drives you.  As an adult, think, shoes, chocolate, skinny jeans, white sand beaches, family time.  Each and every child has their own currency as well and you can bet your bottom dollar that your own children do not have the same currency as each other.  I, of course, learned this the hard way.  Negative consequences… time outs, loss of priveledges/video games/tv/favorite toy… or positive consequences… a new video game/app, stickers, actual money… with four children I have given a lot of different things a try and personal currency regularly changes.  But I have to say, when it came to my now tween, she was beginning to stump me.

My oldest daughter is a wonderful kid but she often lacks confidence in her academic skills.  When she does so, she tends to bring home less than great grades, despite studying.  Her negative mindset would kick in and the test would be a bomb. When she feels good about a subject, she will bring home superior grades.  Her positive mindset could easily propel her to greatness. Unfortunately, I was never able to get her to do the latter consistently.  Until she gave me the in…

Our school district puts together a newsletter highlighting the last quarter in school for all grades.  It’s great fun to look for your friends pictures and then once quarterly look for your name on the Honor Roll and High Honor Roll.  My daughter never quite made either, missing the cut off typically by a point or two. With the ever so small indication, she let on that she wanted to.  So, with that sword in hand already, I charged forward and laid down this gauntlet:

“If you are able to get on Honor Roll, I will make pancakes for a week.  High Honor Roll will get you pancakes for 3 weeks.”

Yup, you read correctly.  My daughter’s greatest, most consistent request is for pancakes.  She absolutely loves hot breakfast.  It was a risky thing to throw out there as her currency but I was at a loss for what would help her to motivate herself to get the grades she really wanted.  All of the typically used currency proved to do nothing.  It needed to be something completely positive so that we could secure her positive mindset. She took the challenge with great excitement.

children's currency

And you know what… we received our quarterly newsletter yesterday.  Today, we ate pancakes.

Thanks for reading!!

7 thoughts on “The Best Currency Ever

  1. Quite amazing what a little positive reinforcement will do. It’s sad to see kids with great potential not live up to it just because of their lack of confidence. Having tutored many students, I find that confidence is one of, if not the most, prevalent causes of poor academic performances. The goal of being on the honor roll or the high honor roll is a good and bad thing. I find that it may cause students to lose confidence in themselves when their hard work doesn’t pay off like it should and continue to believe that no matter how hard they try, they won’t attain that status. It definitely gives them a substantial goal to strive for but it can definitely have a negative effect as well. I want to team my future children that yes there is a currency that will motivate your or deter you from certain actions, but when it comes to academics you have to believe that you can always do more. That hard work does pay off even if it doesn’t seem like it. That there isn’t just one form of hard work and that change may have to occur in order for you to move past this plateau. It’s great that you’re continually encouraging your daughter and I hope she continues to succeed.

    • I could not agree more. The Honor Roll is a slippery slope confidence wise. Luckily a love of pancakes was enough to focus on as I helped my daughter strive not for perfect grades but for consistency and confidence in her skills. Now SHE knows she can do it :). Thanks for the comment!

  2. I agree – now she knows she can do it – and that is what is important! Not all our kids are academic, but our schools focus on that as the ‘right’ way to be. Right from the get-go at least 50% of students are disadvantaged. After 30 years in classrooms I am convinced that the way forward in education is two fold – all round classical education [ie everybody learns everything in a living and exciting manner – and by that I mean throw out text books and time bells and tell stories and do projects and relate it to the childs experience and soul development – we need to educate students to become enthusiastic about learning and growing and being interested in the world again!] and develop a classroom [and home] environment that celebrates each ones aptitudes and talents [some will be academically able others are good in sports, arts, movement or pancake eating!] You are a good mom!! And I apologise for the rant – it’s my bee in the bonnet topic! 🙂

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