Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Hour

I need a diet coke at least once a day.  I don't want it from a can, I want a fountain drink. It is actually a little pathetic how much I look forward to this daily outing.  It is my corner of tranquility in my hectic day.  There is a reason that Sonic calls it "Happy Hour".

This was never a problem when the boys were younger.  I could go to any drive thru and they did not care or were oblivious that we were even there; and, if they did want something they were fine with whatever I chose for them.  Not anymore.  They are now old enough to not only be aware but to also destroy my diet coke budget and my Happy Hour haven.

Oh, I know how to say, "No."  I am actually good at it.  The more difficult scenario is when I have to explain why I have money for a Sprite, but not a milkshake, or why you have to choose between a corn dog or a drink. You see, they can get a treat but I need it to stay within a certain price range.  It isn't a huge problem but it is an afternoon battle I was tired of fighting.  I wanted their choice to feel like a treat not a consolation prize. 

Last Monday I restored peace to my afternoon Sonic trip.  I gave each child and myself $6.  I came up with this number because it allows each person to pick something off of a dollar menu and covers the tax.  I told them that it was their money for after school treats.  I explained that they can spend it how they want but it is only for snacks and it is to stay in the van in the cubby by their seats.  They were ecstatic!

The first day #1 chose a kid's meal and #2 wasn't hungry or thirsty.  On the second day #1 wanted a kid's meal only to discover he could not afford it BUT rather than beg me for more money he asked what he could afford and was thrilled to discover ice cream cones are cheap.  By the end of the week both boys were at zero but rather than feeling deprived they felt empowered. 

I had a great week because I was free of any guilt associated with limiting their spending.  Any time they asked for a treat my answer was, "Get your treat money!"  I am no longer the treat dictator but rather the money coach.  I help count money and decipher menus.  I prefer that opposed to saying "no" 7000 times.

I know there are a bunch of other little lessons that this new protocol teaches but I would be putting on airs if I acted like that was why I was doing it.  Seriously.  All I wanted was to restore peace to my afternoon diet coke run.  Anything more than that was strictly bonus.  

1 comment:

  1. Jenni this is brilliant (Reading this as I was sitting here planning the precise second I will meet the kids getting off the bus, and shuffle the crew into the car to get to sonic befor 4!) Gonna try it!