Communicate your expectations to your child and anyone else who will listen. Let your children know right from the beginning that you expect them to go to college (even if you don’t-I don’t believe that college is for everyone, but that’s another story). Back up your expectation with a gesture. Get one of those sparklette water bottles and label it “College Fund.” Give your child a nickel, every day, to put in the college fund jar. When your child turns 18 will you have enough for college, NOT EVEN, but you will have demonstrated the expectation and communicated to your child that you believe in him. The hard part comes when that little one has gotten on your last nerve for the day. Don’t use the nickel as a punishment; you must still complete the ritual of putting the nickel in the jar. This lets your child know that you know that even though he/she is not
perfect, and even though “I am not liking you right now”, I still believe in you.
One day my 7 year old came home from school and said “Ma did you know that
you don’t have to go to college after high school?” My response “No sweetie that’s only true in China.”
What would be an alternative plan for the nickels if college is not an option?
You are starting the “nickel” thing when your child is 3 years old. How do you know that college is not an option? And, even if it’s not, you don’t want them to know that it’s not an option.
I always tell my two girls that they are a “9″ (they can’t be a 10 because I’m a 10 and they can’t be better than me). I also tell them that everyone else is a 7 or lower. I don’t want them to ever feel inferior (except to me of course).
Great tip. To take it a step further, have them identify a different college for each bottle; location, colors, mascot, etc. It might be fun!
A different bottle for each child is a must. If you are going to label the bottles, make sure that the labels reflect the top Ivy League schools. Here is a quote that I shared with my girls “If man’s reach cannot exceed his grasp, what are the heavens for.”