For the last few weeks, KokoD requested that I come late to pick him up after kindergarten. He says he wants time to play with his friends. Seeing that he is enjoying his friends company so much, I said okay. So for the past week or so I've been going late -- giving him about 15 minutes extra time after school to "play".
Unfortunately, this extra time of "play" is turning out to be extra time for mischief. The first few days of extra time, I would pick up a kid that was dripping in sweat. Yes, literally dripping in sweat. Not only was he sweaty, he was dirty as well. One of the days he said his friend threw sand on his head. Another day as I was doing laundry, I threw into the wash his underwear that was the same color as the sandy slope outside his school. I checked his pants, no such color. So I'm wondering, how is this so? Underwear dirty but pants clean?
Well, the last few school days, the dirty boy is no more. He is up to something else. He comes home and tells me that his friends "belanja him makan" (treating him to food). They've been buying stuff and sharing with him. That's nice I guess, but also dangerous since the school was recently hit with H1N1. Well, he asked me if he could have some money because he wants to buy stuff from the stalls outside his school, like his friends. I told him "NO" because he hasn't learned how to handle money and also doesn't know the value of things. When I picked him up on Thursday, he was eating a piece of "jambu". Obviously courtesy of his friend. On Friday, I found him at one of the stalls with a bunch of his friends... HOLDING SOME MONEY! He was very keen on buying the "jambu" and had me wait while he put in his order.
Me: Where did you get the money from?
KokoD: My friend gave it to me.
Me: Did you ask for it?
Me: How much was the jambu?
KokoD: Don't know.
Me: How much did you give the lady?
KokoD: One 50cent, two 10cents and one 20cent.
Me: How many times have you taken money from your friend?
KokoD: One time only. Today.
The reason why I asked him these questions is because of what I saw as he was buying the jambu:
1. The lady asked him how many he wanted.
2. He didn't answer.
3. The lady asked him how much money he has.
4. He just put out his hand to show her.
5. Then she packed the jambu accordingly.
ALAMAK! How can buy things like that!
Anyway, we firmly told him that he must give the money back to his friend. Goodness knows what will happen if his friend's parents found out that my son has been living off their good fortune. They might think my son was an extortionist! Later, he declared that he still had another 50cents, also from his friend. Aiyoh! I almost pengsan.
Anyway, this was a good reminder that I need to spend less time on the computer and more time teaching my son stuff like "how to count money."
Mama's Parenting Tip:
1. Sometimes (or most of the time) we cannot put all the blame on our children when they do something wrong. If we don't teach them properly, how will they know to choose the right?
2. Don't just teach children to count money. Have to also teach them the value of money and the value of things. For example, I let him buy a cup of drink which cost RM1. It was not a very big cup. To him it was "very cheap what!" Then I calculated for him, one cup everyday would mean RM5 every week. By the end of the month, it would be RM20. With RM20, we could go to Tesco and buy 1 big bottle of Ribena or about 3 bottles of fruit juice syrup. We could then make many, many, many cups of delicious drink. These are difficult times and teaching frugality is a must! Teach them how to be wise shoppers (of course, we have to be wise first).
3. When teaching young children, don't just use workbooks to teach them. Bring out your wallet and let them touch and see REAL money. For example, RM5 is green color and RM10 is red.
4. We all know that children lose things easily, especially stationeries. You can set up a mini stationery shop at home. Lose an eraser, buy one from mommy.
5. It's good that when children get older, for us to give them opportunities to earn their own money. Not for everyday chores but "special" work like washing the car or weeding the garden. Of course, take into consideration their age and capabilities.