By the time our daughter was nine, she had read all of the “American Girl” books, which I thought promoted good values while teaching about American history. When the company came out with the dolls, our daughter decided she really wanted one, but they cost almost a hundred dollars! Even though we could have afforded that, we refused her request, as it was too much to spend on a child’s toy, and I knew I could use this as a teachable moment. I told her that if she wanted the doll, she’d have to buy it herself. When she said she didn’t have enough money, we decided to brainstorm how she could raise the funds to buy it.
She decided to run a summer day camp out of our home. She invited her best friend to be co-counselor, and several neighborhood kids to be the campers. They came to our home three mornings a week for three weeks. Each family paid $20 for the day. During the mornings, they did simple arts and crafts projects at the kitchen table. After that the children were given supplies to create their own healthy snack. Then we all went swimming in the pool (I was the lifeguard). Finally, after lunch, we ended the day with story time, and my daughter and her friend read to the younger kids. The parents were grateful for a cheap summer program and some free time, and once she paid off her co-counselor and deducted the cost of food, my daughter had almost enough to pay for her doll. Several other paid chores got her to her goal. She eventually bought the doll and dressed her and loved her.
Our daughter is now 28 and a family therapist who has her own practice. And the doll? It still sits in her closet. It was all the more meaningful and special because she earned it herself.
Kids CAN Be Resourceful