Family & Life

Teaching Our Six-Year-Old Responsibility for her Belongings

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Ladybug is six-years-old and wears glasses. These two things independent of each other aren’t such a big deal, but when you put six-year-old and glasses together, it tends to be problematic. We’re often reminding her to put her glasses back on, to place them in the case, or remember where she put them all together.

About two weeks ago, she came home from school without them and with absolutely no memory of where they went. I spent half of that day making calls to the bus garage, visiting the school, turning over things in our house to find them. Squeaks knows better than to mess  with Big Sis’ glasses, so we know he wasn’t a culprit.

Unfortunately, she completely lost them and there was no hope for their return. Her glasses were just over 6 months old. Luckily, we had a warranty on them, and only had to pay half of the replacement cost. Which still wasn’t cheap, but considerably better than the full amount.

As glasses are not cheap, and my husband I saw this as an opportunity to teach her to be more responsible for her things. We did a few things to turn this into a teachable moment:

  1. Stayed Calm. As much as we wanted to hit the roof, we didn’t want to break her spirit. Everyone makes mistakes, and we wanted to treat her with grace. I don’t think she would have absorbed a single word of yelling, anyway.
  2. A portion of her allowance went toward replacement costs. We explained to her that for two weeks we were keeping a portion of her allowance and she would be working off part of the replacement cost of her glasses.  It wasn’t a lot of money, but she’s been trying to save up for the Num Noms Ice Cream Truck and was not pleased with this news.
  3. Grounded her from something she loves. She was also grounded from her Kindle Fire, which is very nearly an appendage of her body. We thought that this would be enough to teach a valuable lesson, and that she would be responsible for her glasses.

A week later, her glasses came in. And four short days later – just two days away from being ungrounded – she lost her glasses again; no recollection of taking them off and no sign of them anywhere. My husband and I were not happy campers.

In an act of desperation and thrift, my husband searched for something to keep her glasses on her head. We wanted to make sure that they were low-profile so she wouldn’t be made fun of; no librarian chains or bands over her hair. Luckily, we found these:

They’re called EnzoDate 2 Sets Pack Kids Glasses Silicone Cord & Stay Puts, Children Eyeglasses Ear Locks with Head Band Strap Retainer. We bought them in pink and after just one day, I can say we are very happy. They keep her glasses on her without slipping down the bridge of her nose, and the strap hides under her hair. Which isn’t a problem since she’s not really a ponytail kind of girl. These should definitely save us from having to replace her glasses for the third time in a year. Or at least I hope they will! I hope I didn’t just jinx us!

We instituted a $1 fee every time her glasses are off her face and not inside her case. And as any Dave Ramsey follower will tell you, there’s a small  register of pain involved in when you have to hand over paper money; you feel that money leave you and you don’t like it.  She hasn’t had to pay us a dollar yet, but she’s very protective over her chore money. So far it’s proving to be very effective.

Parenting is an exhausting but fun ride. The past two weeks have been a test of patience and a lesson in grace for all of us. My husband and I have had to explain multiple times over to Ladybug that it’s our job to make her into a responsible person. While I know she probably doesn’t understand right now, our hope is that she’ll appreciate it someday.


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