When T indirectly broke my tablet’s power adapter, he said non-chalantly, “Just get a new one.”
“And where do you think the money is going to come from?” I asked him.
Without flinching, he said, “I’ll open the pig’s bum,” referring to his piggy bank.
Yes, a power adapter wasn’t super expensive. But it did highlight T’s lack of awareness about the value of things.
In fairness, he’s 6 and he has the rest of his life to figure out money, work, and all that.
But it’s important to me that T learns at an early age to value things, to know that things are earned, and to not be wasteful.
At an early age, my parents told me to finish every grain of rice on my plate, because farmers work hard to harvest a single grain of rice. They cautioned that every grain not eaten meant one pimple on our future spouse’s face.
For individuals with FASD, the concept of money is a difficult one to learn, even at adulthood.
When T received his prognosis of at-risk FASD, I read up everything I could about it.
I focused – and yes, in some cases, obsessed – on things I knew were possibilities down the road, like behaviour, speech, reading, etc.
Understanding and working with money was also something I always knew we’d want to work with T on at different points in his life.
At a young age, it’s just letting them be aware that things have monetary cost and value. That’s why it’s important to take care of what we have.
In the last three weeks, his senior kindergarten class have been learning about money.
They are simple lessons focusing on Canadian coins: the twoonie ($2), loonie ($1), quarter, dime (10 cents) and nickel (5 cents).
I created this little simple learning tool for him and we’ve been practicing with it from time to time, including on weekends.
As with every other thing, the best way T learns is a hands on way and when he has fun.
Two weekends ago, I created a little grocery game to play and learn together with T.
I found 5 items I knew he enjoyed and made them grocery items he had to buy with coins I gave him, including his Pediasure for $2, Oreo cookies for 25 cents and a Starburst candy for 5 cents.
And yes, I know what you’re thinking, whatever money he spends, he’ll get back from the tooth fairy with all that sugar!
Since he is inseparable from his stuffed toys these days, Moo Moo got to play the grocery store cashier.
First, we did a review of the coins using the tool I made as well as a school worksheet (below).
I asked T to pick one item at a time to bring to the cashier. Then I asked him which coin he had to spend to pay for the item.
The twoonie and loonies were easy. He found the small coins harder to distinguish.
With that said, never underestimate T. I was puzzled as to why he didn’t give me the quarter for the 25 cent purchase when it was the last item and last coin standing.
Then he showed it to me. “It’s not the same!”
Turns out, he had an American quarter and not the Canadian quarter.
So technically he was correct. At the currency exchange, he could’ve gotten two more Oreos!
It was a fun exercise to do. I think some of the concepts stuck with him and we will just keep practicing this over time. He’s still young.
If all he got out of this exercise was that things cost money and are not free, it’s a win!