Have you ever had one of those “questionable” decisions as parent?

Of course you have 🙂

Once when the girls were little, maybe 2 and 6, they were being their sweet rowdy selves sometime between dinner and bed time. This was always my time which was great because we got to play things like “dragon’s lair” where I would turn the couches into one another and make “the pit.” The house was setup perfectly for playing chase. Staircase in the center and just big enough for a 2 and 6 year old little girl to get a full head of steam before rounding each corner only to find “the dragon” waiting to snatch them up. Those panic belly laugh-screams made life a dream come true. I’d catch one of them and throw’m in the pit and then pretend not to see them crawl out as I’d go find the other one. I didn’t need a gym membership and they generally slept pretty well after 50 laps around the house.

Anyway, one particular night the girls were rowdy for likely no fault of their own, but in my brilliance I told them if they didn’t calm down I was going to shoot the Easter Bunny. That had mixed results. None of them good. One crying, the other mad at me because the other was crying, and neither of them at all amused by their dad desperately holding back a laugh.

I doubt either of them remember that night and of course it wasn’t a “bad” parenting decision, but the holidays take me back to a different time and place and I often reflect on some of the decisions I made as a younger father. Some simple, and some more complicated but I know I’d live it all again if I could!

We have a new release headed to both stores next week. A couple really cool features like multiple approvals for submitted chores, and multiple delete for upcoming tasks.

Happy Easter 🙂

EarnIt! Partners With CollegeAdvisor.com

What better way to pave a path to responsible adulthood than teaching kids the value of earning & learning? EarnIt! would like to invite you to take advantage of CollegeAdvisor.com and their essay guides and examples, webinars, and articles written by trained Admissions Experts. It only takes a few minutes to create an account. Register today to learn more about success in college admissions. The relationship is fresh and we’re still getting to know each other but we’re really excited to incorporate the app usage with paving a path to college. We’ve kicked around how to reward power users with scholarships, app credits, bonus content on CollegeAdvisor.com. It’s exciting to think about all the possibilities!

College applications can be stressful on the whole family. Join CollegeAdvisor for a FREE 60-minute webinar and Q&A session where former Admissions Officer and parent Lauren Lynch will share her tips and tricks for navigating college admissions stress as a family. Register for the free webinar and help take some stress out of your day by adding another layer of knowledge to your parenting handbook!


5 Tips for Raising Money-Smart Kids

by Angela Harrell/parenting.com

Kids’ money habits are formed by age 7, so it’s important to teach them financial fundamentals early and often.

April is “Financial Literacy Month,” which makes it an opportune time to shine a spotlight on the importance of economic and financial education for your kids. A recent study from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 40 percent of adults gave themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance, and 78 percent agree that they could benefit from additional advice and answers to everyday financial questions. Given that financial literacy is the basis of successful retirement planning and long-term security, these statistics paint a bleak picture for many Americans.

One of the key ways to reverse the trend with adults is to arm young people with the tools to make smart financial decisions. Research shows that lack of knowledge on personal financial matters can plague youth well into the future. Fortunately, many schools recognize the value of providing students with a strong foundation in financial literacy. According to Working in Support of Education (w!se), a Voya Financial partner, schools in 43 states participate in their financial literacy program and are teaching these skills alongside their core curriculum.

While teaching financial literacy in our schools is a great step toward preparing future generations to take control of their finances, it’s never too early for parents and caregivers to teach kids about money and set them up for financial success. A report issued by the University of Cambridge revealed that kids’ money habits are formed by age 7. Adults have a great opportunity to shift the paradigm by introducing kids early to financial basics. Here are several ways to teach kids financial fundamentals that will put them on a path for future success:

1. Lead by example

You have a great deal of influence on your children, and they tend to mimic your actions. Instill good money habits by limiting the amount of shopping trips as leisure activities, using coupons at the grocery store and comparing similar products to demonstrate how cost factors into your decision process. Show your child that, because you saved, you can purchase something special that you would not have been able to purchase otherwise, or save it for an ever bigger purchase in the future.

2. Teach saving, giving and spending wisely

Children should learn at an early age that all money should not go into one big spending pot. Use three labeled mason jars to separate money—one for saving, one for spending and one for donating. Any time your child earns money by doing chores or receives a cash gift, encourage him to divide the cash equally among the jars. He’ll learn how to manage his money as well as the value of giving back.

3. Take it to the bank

Many banks allow you to open a savings account with low minimum deposits. A study by the University of Kansas found that children who have early access to savings accounts accumulate more assets—an average of $2,000 compared to $100 for those who did not have a savings account as a child—and are four times more likely to invest in stocks as adults. Opening a savings account for your child also will teach her that money can earn interest, and those earnings, in turn, generate more interest.

4. Test the stock market waters

Don’t start off by trying to explain complicated Wall Street concepts, but let your child know that investing is about attempting to make money grow to meet long-term financial goals, like buying a car or house, paying for college or preparing for retirement. Your child can select two or three stocks and track their performance, without you even having to put money on the line. Or, if your child wants to put some skin in the game, help her select and purchase stock in a company she likes or admires. Tracking stock performance will give your child a sense of the ups and downs of the market. While she may not make a fortune, the experience of gaining and losing money is just as important. (It’s also important to remember that investments are not guaranteed and are subject to investment risk, including the possible loss of principal. The investment return and principal value of the security will fluctuate so that when redeemed, may be worth more or less than the original investment. Generally, the greater an investment’s possible reward over time, the greater its level of price volatility, or risk.)

5. Let them make mistakes

Do you give your children an allowance or allow them to earn money for extra chores around the house? Giving them small amounts of money provides them with a great opportunity to manage it. If they make the wrong choice, they’ll experience the negative consequences of their mistake and will learn to make smarter financial decisions in the future.

Talking with your kids now and implementing these techniques at a young age will set them up for a brighter financial future. At the same time, as you share these lessons, you might find yourself becoming better educated on these topics and then able to give yourself an A or B on your knowledge of personal finance.

Angela Harrell is head of Voya Foundation and the Office of Corporate Responsibility at Voya Financial. Voya Financial invests heavily in education initiatives, and financial literacy is a cornerstone of those efforts. Learn more about Voya’s commitment to financial literacy and corporate responsibility here.

(Working in Support of Education (w!se) is a separate entity and not a corporate affiliate of Voya Financial®. This material is provided for general and educational purposes only; it is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice. All investments are subject to risk. We recommend that you consult an independent legal or financial advisor for specific advice about your individual situation. Neither Voya ® nor its affiliated companies or representatives provide tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax adviser or attorney before making a tax-related investment/insurance decision.)

EarnIt! Receives 5 Stars From the Educational App Store!

Educational App Store Logo

EarnIt! App Review
Earnit is a task management application for parents and their children. Tasks can be assigned to children and rewards can be received when the tasks have been completed. A complete task management system including notification, task schedules, task approval, messaging, goal setting, screen time limits and so much more. 

The app is available on both iOS and Android devices and is free to download. The application is free from in-app adverts and in-app purchases. However, the free edition may have some application restrictions as a paid version grants full access. 

Teacher Review

Earn it offers an array of parental tools at your fingertips to encourage children to complete tasks and teach them the value of responsibility. The app is initially very easy to set up and requires an account to link to other devices. Devices are paired using a simple QR code that responds to either the device of the parent of the child. Once the device is paired tasks can be added easily by completing the task fields that include assigned child, task, date, rewards, task details and even the option to add a photo as evidence when they have achieved the task! The application initially includes instructional overlays within the app to help the user navigate and understand the features and icons. We found this very useful.

Once the child has received the task and completed it they can add comments attach a photo if requested, then submit for approval. Parents can either accept or decline the task completed and reward accordingly. The reward is instant and the child can see how much they have been rewarded. The task is also accompanied by a smart task icon for instant identification.

Goals can also be set within the application for children to aspire to. This could be anything from saving for a new pencil case to saving for a holiday. The communication and response between devices are flawless and very intuitive.

The parent dashboard also offers several other features these include: Account details, the ability to add multiple children, a user guide, contact details to the developer and many more. The ability to change to currency of the application whether you are rewarding in British pounds or US Dollars is a welcomed feature.

What we love about the Earnit app
We loved the initial application set up as this was very easy to do. Applications like this can often be confusing by the user interface is very straight forward. The added feature of adding a photograph once a task has been completed is delightful. There is no getting away with telling parents a task is done and it hasn’t. The feature that enables the parent to block apps and restrict screen time is also an excellent addition along with the Geofencing feature which could be lifesaving.

What skills does it improve?
From a child’s perspective, this application will give them a better understanding of responsibility and certainly improve their organization as well as their tech skills. The application also encourages short- and long-term goal setting giving the child motivation and something to aspire to.

Is Earnit app easy to use?
Although the graphical layout is fairly basic the application has a good user interface and is very intuitive. The in-app instructions and website support certainly will help.

How will parents benefit?
As a parent, the application enables tasks to be monitored and distributed amongst multiple children. It also provides an insight into screen and app time as well as providing peace of mind when using the geofencing feature, great for multiple children.

How will the user benefit?
The application encourages short- and long-term goal setting giving the child motivation and something to aspire to. The user will feel organized, motivated and feel that they are making a real contribution to the household or their personal goals. The calendar provides a great visual reminder of the tasks at hand.