fisherkids newsletter
july & august, 2013 
In This Issue
video updates
motivating your child
new spinner design
homeschool stations for sale
creative kidstuff
Quick Links
Updating our Video
We know that it is frustrating to see our video with an out-of-date magnet!  Please rest assured that a new video is eventually coming and is at the top of our list of things to do!

It is SO HOT!  Remember my undying love for cowboy boots?  My shins finally got so sweaty I had to resort to flip flops.  **sigh**  But the heat is a reminder that summer is still in full force, as is summer vacation for our kids.  Yet the first day of school, made quite prominent on our family calendar, is quickly approaching.  I'm sure when our kids see it as they walk by the Imperial March plays in their head as Darth Vader approaches.  Alas, our days of sleeping in and having a very relaxed daily routine are approaching an end as the school year routine looms in the not so distant future. 

I like both, I have to say.  I love the end of school when Greg and I can sleep in a little bit, kids aren't in a hurry to get out the door, and we can hang out together at night a little later.  But I also get to the point where I crave a little more routine.  It feels good to have structure, although when I write the newsletter next May, I will be saying the opposite!

As you think about the school year routine, keep in mind that it's okay to start all over with your fisherkids system.  Pick new tasks (you might be surprised that the old ones are now habits!), assign new chores as your children age and can take on more responsibility, and maybe think about a little raise?  Change is good.  Change gets us out of our comfort zone, keeps us on our toes, and keeps us always cognizant of the brevity of things.  Enjoy the rest of the summer and as always, please let us know how we can further serve your family.  We are grateful.

Jennifer + Greg Beck
{and our three kids not quite ready for school to start}
Motivating your child
"I don't care about the money, so I just won't do any of it."
Many people say to us that they don't believe in paying kids for chores.  We agree.  There are many things that we do as a family simply to help out the team.  We do it because it's the right thing to do, because we love each other and want to help, or simply because as parents, we provide food, clothing, and shelter, and our kids have to "earn their keep", to harken back to ages past.  Whatever you promote in your family, there must be a sense of duty, for certain.

But then there is the parental responsibility of teaching our children how to manage money.  Just giving them, or
allowing them money, will enable you to teach them how to manage money, but there isn't a sense of ownership or work ethic attached to the allowance.  So we call it a commission; our responsibility stations have children earn the money (hence: commission) and then we teach them what to do with it.  This seems trivial, but think about it this way: when you EARN something, we take better care of it, we have a greater sense of pride for it, and we tend to protect it just a little bit more. 

It's up to you what you decide to list as "duties" and what is considered a "chore".  One is for the family team and one is to earn money.  As we always preach, chores are not always about cleaning.  It is about teaching your children the tasks and responsibilities of healthy, responsible living so that one day they will successfully live independently.  Think about things you do on a monthly, weekly, daily basis and age-appropriately teach your children.

But what if your child sees his or her responsibility station, sighs, and says, "I don't care about the money.  I just won't do any of it."  I hear this time and again from parents and the answer isn't an easy one.  It is one that will take time, patience, energy, and did I mention patience? 

Many parents tell me that their child would rather be playing video games than help out around the house.  So let's use this as our example.  
The first question to ask yourself: If your child doesn't care about the money, then WHY doesn't (s)he care about the money?  After all, video games cost money, right?  How are they getting the games?  How are they getting the latest and greatest game console?  If the console breaks, how are they getting it repaired?  Many games need accessories or online membership, so how are they getting either?  If the answer involves you purchasing these things for your child, then stop!  This is VERY difficult for many parents to do.  They want to buy their children things; they want to give them what they want; grandparents often come into the picture when it comes to buying things for the kids.  But if we buy everything for them, then why would they care about money? 

Even little things like the example I use in our Parent's Guide: the Devil's aisle (checkout aisle).  For certain there is an art to merchandising the checkout aisle, right?  It's a child's dream come true: candy, gum, bottled sodas or the seemingly harmless bottle of water, the little bag of Lego minifigures, the little silicon doll that you can dress in more silicon that will inevitably end up in your vacuum cleaner, PEZ dispensers from the latest movie release, and {oh!} the chapstick that tastes like cherries, OH BABY!  It is enough to make any child's head spin a full 360 degrees with sheer excitement.  I used to find myself constantly saying "NO."  "NO."  "NO!" all the while it seemed like eons until the checker was finished with our basket of goods.  When we came up with the fisherkids station and introduced it to our girls (Henry was still a wee little guy), we were in the checkout aisle and both girls pulled a bottle of water out of the ice-cold bin.  I said, "Sure! But you have to pay for it with your fisherkids money." Their mouths dropped open because I said YES.  Then they realized what I said, put the bottles back, and went to the {free yet lukewarm} water fountain that was LITERALLY ten steps away. 

Now, this won't always work out so perfectly, trust me.  There have been plenty of sighs, eye-rolls of exasperation, and tears of frustration at the thought of having to delay gratification.  In a world of all things instantaneous, delayed gratification is a lost art and a VERY difficult concept to teach our children.  There has to be patience on your part to let them use their money to buy the $2.00 bag of rubber bracelets that will either break by the time you get to the car, get washed in the laundry and then thrown away, or choke the dog.  Some kids will never make a purchase like this.  Some will make it only once or twice before learning, while still others will make this decision more times than you think should be possible for a human brain before they make the connection that they are frivolously spending money and could have saved that money for something truly awesome.  (There are plenty of adults who do the same thing, so please don't hold this against your child!)

We buy our children birthday gifts, holiday gifts, and an occasional little something when a school achievement calls for it.  And our kids are by no means deprived....we still go to the movies as a family, we still do fun things.  But the little things that tend to add up on the family budget are their responsibility.  If they want the ipad mini "for schoolwork" as they say (much to their chagrin when we counter that Angry Birds or Minecraft are not school assignments), then they save for it.  It might take them three years, and by then there will probably be a way cooler ipad available, but the goal is to teach delayed gratification.  Need vs. want.  We have to help them keep their eye on the prize (shameless plug for our app in the App Store: Savings Setter) and not get bedazzled by the here and now. 

Another example from one of our customers: their daughter wanted a pair of expensive jeans.  The family budget called for $30.00 for said pair of jeans.  So their daughter had to decide: get the "totally lame" $30.00 pair or the extravagant $150.00 pair.  If I recall correctly, the daughter chose to save. 

Our daughter wanted to go to the movies with a friend not too long ago.  She asked if she could go and we said yes, but she would have to pay for it, as it was not in our budget just before we were leaving for vacation.  She chose to go; it was hilarious to hear her talk later about the "price of movies these days." She told us with utter amazement that she and her friend had to SHARE a popcorn! 

As a parent, if you are used to buying everything your child's heart desires, this will be difficult and you will probably feel like you are depriving your child of all that is good in life, but please let me assure you that you are not.  Ultimately, you are teaching such valuable lessons!  You are allowing your child to make independent financial decisions from which they will learn and grow.  It's not like you are telling them you will no longer buy them groceries or clothe them. 

Success with our stations does rely on open family discussion.  We still, after five years of using our stations, talk about the family team.  We tell our children thank you for helping us out on a daily basis.  We are constantly talking.....  Once your child realizes that you are serious about not buying things outside of the NEEDS, (s)he will get the hint and start to save.  How do they save? By participating with daily tasks and chores.  Again, be patient.  This will take a while, and the curve is greater if your child is stubborn by nature!  Talk with grandparents, too.  This is a family marathon as we raise our children....not a sprint.  

New Spinners
Coming Soon!

We have been trying for years to get rid of the glass that we use in our spinners.  We are finally in a position to redesign our three most popular spinners: the consequence, dinner, and boredom spinners.  They will come with a dry-erase marker, a grommet at the top so that they will easily hang on the station, and one extra peg hook.  The new design will be available in October (possibly sooner....but October for sure!).  Certainly you can hang them elsewhere other than the station, or order an extra pegboard just for the three stations!  Our two other stations (soon to be added: the teen's mood spinner; hilarious) will still be glass-front for now.  
Homeschool stations available for sale!

Many of you know that it has taken a WHILE for us to get our homeschool station ready to sell.  We are finally ready!  We sent out many prototypes to be tested by current homeschool families and their feedback was priceless.  Thanks to their survey responses, we came up with a system that will help with organization of both school assignments AND household responsibilities.  We basically combined the fisherkids responsibility station with a homeschool organization station.  And before I go any further.....yes you will be able to order the homeschool add-on kit to take your current station into what you see pictured. 

Here is what is included: 
-the homeschool notepad is divided into two sections: assignments and responsibilities. 
The responsibilities section is just like our responsibility magnet.  The only difference is that you will write on it each week vs the magnet which is written on once and changed as you need.  We felt like homeschool parents were writing assignments each week anyway, so this is the best way to combine both.  And if you don't want to write each week, perhaps a hint is to print off labels for each section and just slap those on each week.  Up to you...

The assignments section gives you plenty of room to write the assignments (up to 7 subjects) for each day of the week.  The notepad is also conducive for your children/students to cross off finished assignments.

-You will get a bucket for commonly needed school supplies.  Your station comes with a cute little pencil to reinforce the true nature of learning. 
-Finally, you will also receive the chore sticks, chore chooser bucket, and set of three money bags.  Of course the pegboard, hardware, and peghooks are included as well!

If you are ready to order the homeschool station, we are selling online now.  Shipping time, however, is about a week until we ship it (sometimes sooner) as we hand-package each one right now!  Eventually, shipping time will decrease, and we appreciate your patience as we launch our newest product.  Tell your friends....pretty please!  
Welcome Creative Kidstuff!
check us out....coming soon to Creative Kidstuff

We welcome Creative Kidstuff to our family of distributors!  Creative Kidstuff has stores in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area as well as in several airport terminals across the country (perfect for toys to keep kids occupied on a plane ride!)  They have also recently acquired the children's catalog, Sensational Beginnings.  If you live in the Minneapolis area, check out their stores!   You can also check out our responsibility station before ordering!  We are thrilled to partner with Creative Kidstuff.

Our other distributors include UNCOMMON GOODS, OPEN SKY, THE GROMMET, and SOUTHERN VINTAGE GLAM boutique in Plano, TX.   
"What do we do with the used chore sticks?"

Your kids are great about pulling the chore sticks, completing the chore, but then what to do with the stick?  We are researching the possibility of a split bucket, one side for chores to be done and one side for completed chores.  (You can stick a divider down the middle if you like....)  But for now, we just put ours in a little bowl on a wee little shelf next to the stations.  Then at the end of the week, I re-distribute the sticks.  It's actually a good reminder for me to see them as I walk by! 
Use this area to provide your subscribers information about your organization.

jennifer beck