Teaching kids a valuable lesson about money or in the other words how to motivate your kids to do chores regularly

We all know money doesnt grow on trees, but sometimes seems our kids believe that. When my daughter turned four years old, I have realised I should explain her what really money is, where does it come from, etc.

Since we spend every week at least one afternoon in the library, we went through the books about money, saving, issues of poverty etc.

At home we read books we have in our library such as Lemonade in Winter (absolutely brilliant book and I would say a must have at your home library as it teaches kids about need to advertise, counting money, offering discount and determining if money was made or lost, ideal for preschool kids), Money madness (teaching kids about the circle of life of a produced coin), A chair for my mother (about kindness and saving money, showing how it is a long process), Each kindness (very touching book I always cry reaching the end, about poverty, bullying in school due to poverty etc), Jenny found a penny (great for kids to learn to count, add, save, introduces the concept of taxes, Natalia is still confused why do we need to pay taxes hahah, she says its stupid cause it only increases price of everything;)

One of the funny conversations I had with Natalia was when she asked me can I buy her new children magazine Lili Zauberfee. I said I cant cause my salary did not arrive. She confronted me that she knows I have bank card and we can go to any ATM and I can get money (OOPS). Than part of our conversation follows:

Me: You know, mommy has to work to earn that money. What would you like to do in order to make money?N: I want to be a mother.Me: I dont earn money for being a mother, although I wish it was the opposite.N: (all confused just staring at me )M: What would you like to do in order to earn money? Would you like to be a cook? Or a cleaning lady? Maybe you would like to be a dentist?N: No mommy, I want to do experiments just like you (awww I melted and on the other hand realised I still have to hope Miro becomes a football player so someone in our family gets to earn a decent salary:P)

In that moment I have realised I have to make the concept of earning money closer to Natalia, so in order to motivate her to do her everyday chores (making bed, vacuuming her room etc.) I have decided I ll make a list of how much she ll earn for each chore. For example for vacuuming she gets 1 euro, for making bed 10 cents, cleaning after Miro 50 cents, etc. Also there is a negative feedback, in case she doesnt clean her plate from table after dinner she has to pay me back 50 cents, if she leaves mess after painting another 50 cents minus etc. She was never so motivated to do chores!!! Probably not surprising after a week Miro wanted to vacuum as well since he saw it brings biggest amount of money (and he loves icecream:P). So from that moment Natalia doesnt ask me anymore to give her money for icecream, her favorite kids magazines etc.

Additionaly recently I have introduced 3 jars for her, one for spending, one for saving money and one for giving to charity. I must say I am very proud how she distributes the money, guess reading books had a huge impact on that – biggest portion goes to saving (she is saving for new ballet shoes), than charity (she wants to help poor kids whose parents have no money to buy them clothes and food) and smallest amount for immediate spending (e.g. icecream, magazine,,)

How did you introduce concept of money to your kids?

Books which will encourage your kids to follow their dreams despite all the obstacles

Do you still remember your childhood dreams?

I do remember most of them, and to be honest I did everything to live my dreams. Some were very easy to achieve; like getting married at the coast under sky full of starts, having kids, but some seemed impossible. During my highschool period, when I realised I wanted to become a chemist, I was dreaming of obtaining a Nobel prize one day. Well, I did not get one personally, but my PhD supervisor did, so in a way feels like that dream came true as well.

On my last year of PhD I got pregnant. It was an unplanned pregnancy, and lot of my colleagues were convinced I will not manage to finish. Kind of rational thinking, considering that at that very moment  I had published only one article and had 4 more projects running. But do you know what, I did not quit my PhD. I just relaxed much more thanks to pregnancy and started seeing everything more clearly. I had to write everything on computer, and I realised that in order to finish those 4 projects there is not much that is missing actually. I just lacked proper organisation – skill I mastered thanks to my pregnancy. I finished all my projects and graduated just after my supervisor got Nobel prize in 2016.

But there is one big childhood dream that I am still working on, but I do not want to spoil it by talking about it.

SO enough about me.

Here is the list of the most aspiring books that my kids love and I truly enjoy to read them:

I am Amelia Earhart – my kids adore this book. It tells the story of a very brave woman who was the first woman to take the flight across the Atlantic. Both of my kids are fascinated by planes, but I especially love that this book depicts woman who is a pilot, because so far on all our flights we saw only male pilots. I love that after reading this book Natalia said she would love to become a pilot – at least with that job she would never be jobless;) Additionally it shows even when all people tease you and do not think you can succeed, you can demonstrate them the opposite. My favourite citate from the book: ‘Never interrupt someone doing what you said could not be done.‘ That was actually original citate from Amelia Earhart.

Mae among the stars – Just like the book about Amelia it demonstrate that if you really want something you will do your best, work hard and follow your dreams and that they can become true. A story about a very intelligent and multitalented woman Mae Jemison – first Afro-American female astronaut.

Margaret and the moon – book about Margaret Hamilton and how she saved the first lunar landing. This books depicts little girls fascination with the sky at night and her love for mathematics and how her passion for mathematics helped her to create amazing code which enabled first lunar landing. A must have!!! Especially if you want kids who will love mathematics because math is cool!

Going places – I  am a big fan of Peter Reynolds, but this one is an absolute favourite. It shows your kids how thinking out off the box is something amazing and with which they can make their dreams come true. An absolute must have!!!

Which books would you add to this list?






Montessori friendly books that can nourish your toddlers love for math

Montessori friendly books (for 0-6 years old) are realistic, they can contain fiction, but it has to be based on reality. The reasoning behind it was based on Maria’s observation of children and their absorption of everything from environment and development of their own imagination, which should not be enforced by grown-ups. More about Montessori viewpoint on fantasy you can read in the following blog posts: by threeminutemontessori, montessori nortwwest, mariamontessori.com and readaboutreading.

In the following photo are examples of our favorite books for toddlers that cover the math topics of size and counting.


Size – a great book for toddlers for discussing about concepts of size: big and small and comparisons (big, bigger, the biggest). It is putting things in perspective, e.g. there is an example of a plane when we see it in the sky it looks small but when we stand next to it we see how it is actually really big. There are much more of this every day examples and comparisons. Great book to accompany your every day trips to nature and comparing big and small trees, stones etc.

Anno’s counting book – Natalia’s favorite as she is now in a sensitive period for counting. This book consists of only pictures which in a subtle manner follow changes in seasons on the northern hemisphere over the 12 months (in this book numbers 0-12 are introduced).  The pictures add one item in each category for each new number, building on the previous scene. Readers can find and count children, adults, pine trees, cherry trees, buildings, etc. I believe this books evokes fascination in both adults and kids on aesthetic and intellectual levels.

Forest Bright, Forest Night – another great book for toddlers, where they can enjoy in first half of the book counting animals that are active during the day, and in the second half of the book counting and observing various nocturnal animals. It is a very poetical book and contains realistic images of all depicted animals. Also for kids it is fun to see that some animals are sleeping in first half of the book whereas they are being active in the second half of the book (during night). Apart from counting, this book is a great one for discussion of day and night, sun and moon and various animals from the woods.

One Gorilla: A counting book – if your kid is into animals, especially monkeys this one is brilliant counting book, it covers various primates which have very vivid facial expressions. For older kids it is a great introduction to evolution.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle’s classic, and I do not know a kid who does not like this book. It is perfect for toddler’s initial counting till five, learning about days in the week and about amazing process of metamorphosis.

There are numerous books on this topic, and here is one thought-provoking article on the topic


Enjoy and let me know what are your favorite math books for toddlers;)