I was lucky to chaperone my daughter’s steel drum band’s trip to Portland this past month. While riding on the bus with thirty plus third, fourth and fifth graders, I was exposed to the spinning metal phenomenon known as Fidget Spinners. All the boys seemed to have them and those that didn’t dragged their chaperones through the mall to find one.
I was intrigued but felt grateful my kids did not seem to be interested in the craze. My husband heard about them from co-workers and commented that he was surprised our kids had not asked for one.
Then our son asked and we missed a valuable money teaching moment. Dang it!
Here is what we did. Here is the wrong way to buy a fidget spinner:
I bought him one.
Yep. I spent $9 of my money on a plastic spinner for him. He was super happy and the joy was there. He had fun fidgeting with his new blue spinner on the bus, at recess and after school. He tried all sorts of tricks and got pretty good at spinning it on his nose.
Fast forward a week and that spinner is nowhere to be found. And does he care? No, not really. The fad has faded fast.
I believe there are many reasons why he is not too concerned about his missing fidget spinner, but I believe the biggest reason is because he did not pay for it himself. He had nothing invested, no skin in the game. He is out nothing!
A nine dollar, highly desirable purchase, would have been the perfect opportunity to allow him the experience of purchasing the spinner on his own.
Here is the right way to buy a fidget spinner and the teaching experiences we missed.
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- Research the price of a fidget spinner.
Talk about taxes and shipping if necessary.
- Discuss ways for your child to pay for it.
Are their special paid jobs they could do around the house? Can they take money out of savings? Is their birthday coming up?
- Allow time for your child to work and save their money.
This step will show if they are determined enough to really want that spinner.
- Take your child to purchase their very own fidget spinner.
Have them pay the cashier. I believe the physical handing over of the money is a huge part of the experience.
- Praise their hard work, dedication and decision.
Although these steps are about purchasing a fidget spinner, in reality they can be applied to any purchase, even the purchase of an experience.
I believe kids learn best through experience and we missed an experience big time. The lessons of hard work, saving and the confidence gained of making a purchase on your own are critical skills to master.
As a family we typically seek for experiences not things, but sometimes fads, trends and frenzied fidget spinners come along and you find the experience within the thing. My son got to experience the perfectly balanced spinner twirling on his nose and my husband and I got to experience regret for missing a teachable moment about money.
What have your kids paid for themselves? Have you noticed a difference in how they treat that purchase?