Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Deals

On last night's Entitlement Webinar with my parents (which went great, by the way), there were a lot of questions about motivating kids to do productive stuff during the summer and keeping kids from feeling they're entitled to too much leisure when school's out.  Growing up, my parents did a great job helping us to come up with goals that we'd work on each summer and we'd make a "deal" regarding how much they'd pay us for successfully completing our goals.  This was a great way for us to use our extra time in the summer to earn money when we weren't yet old enough for "real" jobs and when we needed to be motivated to be actively involved in worthwhile pursuits rather than expecting to be entertained.

Anyway, people had a lot of questions about how many goals kids should set and what types of goals might work, so I promised to post one concrete example - my son Ashton's "Summer Deal" that he's working on to earn money to go with his cousins to DC and spend the 4th of July with his aunt there.

So below you'll find Ashton's "Summer Deal" (with Ashton's permission - in fact he copy and pasted it into my blog for me).  You'll see we had him come up with goals in several categories and that there's daily or nearly-daily component that goes with most goals and an end-result goal that goes with most required repeated actions.  We did have to trade this "deal" back and forth a few times - telling him to up the ante a little so we could make a deal both parties felt was great.

After doing these goals for the full month of June, he'll have earned $100 towards his plane ticket and with that plus the money he's been saving all year and some money we said we'd kick in, he'll be all set for a great trip with his cousins.  And he'll really appreciate it because he really worked for it.

We have offered him the courtesy of a reminder to do his stuff quite a bit, but mostly he's been very self-motivated since this is his deal that he made up and since it'll take him a long way towards something he really wants to do.  He has a spreadsheet where he checks off each thing he did each day before going to bed at night.  Ashton's 11 years old - in case you're wondering.

For our younger kids, they've also made summer goals and deals but theirs simpler.  For great examples of other kids' summer goals, check out my sister Shawni's recent blog post about summer goals HERE.


  • Reading (30 minutes/day 7 days/week. Read 6 books, 3 being award winners)
  • Math (20 minutes/day, problem solving, 5 days a week. Learn 4 new math concepts)
  • Writing (blog post 2 days/week and work on book 3 days and work on journal 2 days/week)

  • Scriptures (at least 10 verses/day, 5 days/week)
  • Prayer (5 times a day)
  • Memorization (at least one Article of Faith or scripture/week)

Play basketball (3 days a week, 15 minutes a day. By the end, be able to make 15/20 baskets)
Run or bike for 30 minutes, 2 times/week.

Skills & Talents
  • Play guitar for 20 minutes each day, 3 times per week. Be able to play two new songs by the end of June.
  • Piano - same as above
Helping others
  • Babysit for neighbors at least 2 times for free
  • Help Oliver and Silas learn something twice a week (Reading, math, technology, etc.)
  • Secret service, 2/week (make bed, clean room, give gift, etc.)

I can have one pass per week per category - that means I can forget some things once in a while and still make my deal.


Laurie said...

Thanks for sharing Saren! Very timely as I work out summer goals with my kids. Sometimes I have a tough time deciding what works and making them really work for something. Thanks. I'll be checking out the book and webinar.

Love the Mother's Day photos of you and the kids. Hope you have a wonderful summer!!

Hilary said...

Saren, that is REALLY cool. And I love that the ante is big enough he will feel a huge sense of accomplishment.
Did I tell you we're moving to AZ? On Monday?

Annie P said...

Thanks. I plan to work on something similar with my kids.

Something that might be helpful for you and Ashton (for his mental goals) is the Khan Academy Watch the video on the website with Bill Gates. It is a fantastic and free way to learn all kinds of math concepts and practice them. It really is incredible.

Eyrealm said...

GREAT JOB ASHTON! And thanks for taking a good idea and making it better.


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