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Aside from soccer, two suggestions for making our kids more aware of the value of things and money.

We live in an era of consumerism. So buy things, break them, throw them away, buy them again! Everybody’s happy and the mechanism apparently works!

I have the sensation that, this way, our kids believe that money grows on trees so, it’s not important to take care of things because, if they break them or lose them, they will have them back in a few days, new!!!

I say this because I recently went to a soccer field for a morning individual soccer lesson, where a youth team from a nearby school usually practices. Field empty. Great! While walking around the border of the field I found:

2 pairs of Nike long socks NEW.
1 pair of sport Nike under shorts NEW.
1 pair of great tennis shoes Adidas, size #10 so not for a very young player, basically NEW.
1 lacrosse jersey.
1 polo jersey.
1 sweatshirt.
1 pair of prescription glasses.
1 pair of casual short pants.
All this just in ONE TIME!

I remember when my daughter was 3 years old, she told me: ”Dad, do you need money? Go to the ATM!!!”. For them, just by punching our code, the money comes out from that machine. They don’t know that, before that, we need to work and put the money there so the machine gives us back, the money that WE HAVE PUT THERE beforehand!!

As I’ve suggested, in soccer, a few unconventional ways to train our kids, so in the same way, I’m taking the liberty of suggesting something that could be useful in helping them to better understand the value of things and money.

Very often, their toys, cameras, laptops, clothes, favorite shoes, books, tapes, DVD‘s, video games, CD‘s, sunglasses, watches and on and on, become a ‘carpet’ that covers the entire floor of their rooms. So, inevitably, because they can’t fly, they walk and step on top of them.


Cameras and laptops suddenly don’t work anymore. Video games, DVD’s and CD‘s, left out of their cases, get scratched and don’t work anymore, etc., etc…………

When this happens, the usual sentence is :”mom, the camera doesn’t work anymore!!”, and not, “mom, I stepped on top of the camera, I broke it and it doesn’t work anymore!!!”. Or,” this CD doesn’t work because is scratched!!!”, as if it got scratch by itself rolling around while no one was there, and not, ”I walked on top of a bunch of CD‘s, instead of putting them back in their cases, and I scratched them!!!!”

So, coming to the suggestions, try this.

Once and for all, with your sons or daughters, dedicate 1 or 2 hours, to collecting all the stuff that covers the floor, the desk and the bed. Find a logical place for everything. Explain to them that, from now on, EVERYTHING has a PLACE so, after being used, everything goes back to its place.


Seem simple? Seems simple, because IT IS SIMPLE!!! The complication comes NOW!

Buy a glass cupboard that you can close with a key and put it in their room.

After having explained to your kids what will happen, everything that is found in the room, out of its place and can be damage, will end up in that cupboard for a few months! Everything will have a sticky with a date, that can be seen from outside of the glass door so, your kids can see WHEN they will have that ‘precious’ object back, that they failed to put in the right place after having used it!

I can ensure you that, for a couple of days, probably less, you’ll continue to find things around, but after that, when their favored video games and CD’s have ended up in the cupboard for 6 MONTHS, and they look at them for 180 days instead of using them, they will become (by magic!) the most organized people in the world!

Second suggestion. This is to understand the correct value of money.

On the first day of the year, or now if you’d like to try now, give your kids a ‘Christmas budget’. With that amount of money, presents will be bought for Christmas at the end of the year. Put a white board in their rooms, on which the following will be CLEARLY visible.

With the passing of the months, everything that they brake because they used it without care, everything that they lose just by forgetting it some place, everything that mysteriously disappears inexplicably, toys forgotten in the back yard in the rain, will be deducted (economically) from that budget.

Even little episodes like, left the light on when they leave their room, the TV on when they go out of the house, etc, etc, $5 fine on the budget board, with the date.

So, when Christmas time comes, let’s check the budget situation with them:

This was the amount of money that you had at the beginning of the year.
This is the amount of money, that you ‘spent’ during the year.
“You owe us, $200! But because it‘s Christmas, we‘ll be magnanimous and erase your debt. This is the new budget for next Christmas with a little increment, to underline that we love you!
Merry Christmas and good luck next year!”

Even in this case, I can ensure you that next year, your sons and daughters, will take care of their stuff as if they were ‘holy relics’, electricity too!!!

Through these two simple expedients, you’ll teach your kids the value of things and, more important, that money doesn’t grow on trees. It takes sacrifices and being responsible to have what they’d like to have.

I know that it will be hard for you, to leave them without presents at Christmas but remember that you’re doing it because you love them and they will understand.

You explained to them what would happen at the end of the year and they have seen everyday on the board in their room, how their Christmas budget was getting smaller and smaller so, it was their choice to spend it during the year, by not taking care of their things. Now the time to do the math has arrived, like in their future lives it will arrive everyday and not just one time a year! In the future, they will thank you. Just have a little patience and be a little more severe.

Ho, sorry, I forgot to say the most important thing.

If you leave your clothes and your shoes all around the house, if the kitchen seems ‘bombarded’ from the day before after breakfast, lunch or dinner, if your desk is a kind of battlefield in which it’s impossible to even find a pencil, if your house seems like Candlestick Stadium with all the lights ON even during the day, if your car is a kind of a storage or in the garage it’s hardly possible to walk around the car, OBVIOUSLY, don’t expect to see your kid’s rooms, different than that!

Ciao and good luck. If you do what I suggested, please let me know how it goes.

Coach Gianni

Posted on 21 Jun 2007 by coachgianni
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