A reservation I know a lot of parents have about giving their child an allowance is, “Do we want more stuff coming into the house?” I feel you. Like you, I have stepped on more than enough pieces of lego, never to want to see those vile blocks again. But if we’re going to give our little ones the opportunities to manage their own money, then we also need to provide them with the opportunity to bring new things into the house.
But like with all responsibilities, some limits can be put into place. Here is how you are going to manage the new influx of stuff that is coming in – *a toy equilibrium.
Establish a Toy Equilibrium
Do this before starting the allowance, or after a big toy purge. Establish that your house is now at its maximum amount of toys, the number of toys in the home can go down, but it can not go up. If a new toy is going to be coming into the house, that means a toy of equal size, or parts, or whatever criteria you deem fit for your home, needs to be removed.
A toy equilibrium is an excellent way for your child to start prioritizing their belongings too. If they are really in need of that new transformer, Elsa, or whatever the latest thing is, then they should be willing to get rid of that other thing that has been collecting dust.
I, unfortunately, have passed along the hoarding gene to my son. I am a collector. Like me, my son does not like to get rid of anything. All trash could be a crafting item, all toys are special to him, and to give something away is always a great offence to him. I can relate to that, but at the same time, we have limited space, and he has started to come to terms with that. It is still a fight to get rid of stuff. However, post-shopping, I do have him find items that he no longer uses to add to our giveaway pile, and so far, it has worked well.
Creating a Healthy Relationship with Stuff
With great power comes great responsibility. The ability to buy stuff means your little one needs to be responsible enough not to hoard things. Saying goodbye to toys creates a healthy relationship between your child and things. The ownership relationship is a critical part of money management.
Is it hard for you to say goodbye to stuff too? When you do a toy purge, make sure your little one sees you purging some of your stuff also. Model the behaviour we want, right? Have you tried a toy equilibrium in your home? How did it go?
* I first read about a Toy Equilibrium in Ron Lieber’s book The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids who are Grounded Generous, and Smart About Money