It’s been about 5 months since we bought the game Skylanders Giants for the boys. In that time the boys have collected about 98% of the figures for the game and have already beaten the game. We feared that they would grow bored with the game after beating all of the levels, but that hasn’t seemed to dull their enthusiasm.
In fact, Brendan has come down with a severe case of Skylanders fever. Everything he says and does ties back into the game somehow. Their blocks become the different elements, their playground equipment becomes a scene from the game, he randomly starts reciting the names of all the different characters (all 48 of them), dinner conversation revolves around which are each family members favorite and least favorite characters.
It got to the point that he became obsessed with getting Spiro’s Adventure which is the game that came before Skylanders Giants. Many of the figures that we have already purchased will work with the other game, but that fact didn’t make Matt or I any more keen to buy the game for the kids. We’ve had so many fights with the kids about whether or not they get to play the game at all and when they do play fights about playing nicely together that we finally have had to ban the kids from playing the game at the same time.
After weeks and weeks of begging us to buy the game for him, we finally came out and said firmly that we would not be buying the game. However, we told Brendan that if he could come up with the money himself that he would be allowed to buy the game with his own money. Matt and I are not big fans of an allowance. Our kids are not entitled to receive a flat payment each week for just existing. We pay them for the chores that they do around the house. There is a flat rate of $.25 for each job that they do.
Since Brendan turned 9 he has finally decided that $.25 is no longer a sufficient amount of money to be paid for a job. (Before I get comments and hate mail about what a cheapskate I am, please understand that the jobs they are doing consist of things like feeding our cats, picking up their bedroom, or emptying their hamper–simple jobs that take them less than 5 minutes to complete). So we made a deal with Brendan that if he came to us and asked for a chore list that we would pay him double, but if we had to seek him out or fight with him about doing the jobs then he would get the normal rate, or (when he’s completely throwing a fit about it) not get paid at all.
And for a few days he came to us asking for chores. I’d give him a few, and generally after 3-4 chores he’d lose interest and not want to do any more. Around the 4th of July he started complaining that he wanted Spiro’s Adventure again and we reminded him that he had to earn the money for it. He tried once to complain that I wasn’t giving him any chores, but we then reminded him that he had to come to us if he wanted to get the extra cash.
So he started coming to me again and I would assign him 6-8 chores depending on the day and what needed done around the house. He’d complete them all, and collect his payment. When his piggy bank started to look pretty full he got excited and asked us to sit down and help him count the money (he has a lot of trouble distinguishing between the different coins). We did, and found he’d earned more than $20.00. Once he saw that he grew even more excited. He knew from looking at the tag on the shelf that Spiro’s Adventure cost $40.00 so he was more than halfway there.
After that he started coming to me first thing every morning wanting a chore list. One morning I was slow about getting him one so before I was even really up and moving for the day he took it upon himself to write a chore list on the fridge and was halfway through cleaning the basement up before I realized what he was doing. I couldn’t fault him his enthusiasm and assigned as many chores as I could think of each day.
I began to give him more complex chores as well seeing as how he was doing so well with the simple ones. He began to do things like sweep the kitchen floor or vacuum his bedroom. He thrived on the new challenges and kept coming back for more and more chores.
In no time at all, he managed to earn all $40.00 necessary to buy the game. He wanted to go out as soon as he’d finished his chores, but as I had a million other things on my plate at the time I told him he’d have to wait until we had time to go to the store. He was disappointed, but accepted that he’d just have to wait. We did manage to get to the store that night after dinner, and brought his new purchase home just as it was time to get ready for bed.
Tuesday was the first day that he had the opportunity to play his new game. Having accomplished his goal didn’t make him any less enthusiastic about doing chores for me. As soon as breakfast was over he was bugging me to put a new list on the refrigerator. He was somewhat disappointed when I assigned some of his standard chores to Cameron, who’d also expressed an interest in earning money for doing chores.
I think he was just trying to kill time until nap though, because I’d told him he had to wait until then to play his new game. The reason for the delay was actually to his benefit, so he didn’t complain too much. I wanted to allow him the opportunity to enjoy the game on his own the very first time without Cameron underfoot and commenting. He appreciated the chance to do something without his shadow following him and so accepted the few hours delay in opening his new prize.
His case of Skylanders fever hasn’t gone away, in fact I’d say it’s gotten worse with the acquisition of Spiro’s Adventure. He’s already planning and plotting how to earn himself enough money to purchase himself Swap Force (the sequal to Skylanders Giants) when it comes out in November. As much as I have complained about the geniuses that have figured out how to milk as much money as they possibly can out of this game series, at least it gives Brendan something he desperately wants to work for.