My kids are getting to the age where they want to buy their own “stuff.” Maybe it’s something I won’t spend my money on, or maybe it’s something they really want and it’s not birthday or Christmas time- my husband and I decided that we’d let them start having opportunities to earn some money in order to help teach them about finances- earning, spending, saving, and even donating. We recently downloaded the Tykoon app onto my iPhone and my iPad to help us with this process. You can also use this app from your computer!
What struck me immediately about this app is how it lets you customize things based on your own family values. We have things that we expect all of us to do because we all live in this house and we are part of a family. This isn’t something that gets rewarded monetarily, all the time, but it’s still an expectation. All three of my kids, even my not-quite-3 year old, know to straighten their bed in the morning and clear their dishes from the table after each meal. But beyond that, I can customize rewards- things don’t have to be monetary- it can be extra DS time, time with mom or dad, etc.
Earn You can assign your kids various tasks including recurring chores such as cleaning their room, or one-time jobs and also daily responsibilities such as their homework. You choose how to assign rewards based on your own family practices and values. These rewards can be cash or non-cash such as stay up late time.
Save In addition to putting away some of their earnings, your kids can also set up and save for a big or long-term goal. This can be an item that they want to purchase, a family vacation or trip or a savings goal for college or education. There are tracking tools built in for kids to see their progress, how far they have to go, and for visual reinforcement.
We are planning our first “big” family vacation to Orlando for January of 2013 and while the kids don’t know, I may be “saving” some of their earnings until then for their spending money, because we aren’t telling them about the trip until Christmas. I can keep track of how they are doing with chores and responsibilities and do some rewards on the sly…
Give Learning starts with discovery. With Tykoon, kids discover and learn about dozens of age appropriate charities and also share these interest with their family and friends.
We give at church each week when we go, and have close friends who run charitable organizations, so my kids are fairly familiar with the concept of giving back- but not necessarily giving what they choose or how they choose. I like that Tykoon helps them to discover different ways and charities to give to- maybe my son has a cause that will speak to him more than those that speak to me.
Spend On Tykoon your kids can purchase their favorite products which are delivered right to your door through
our partner Amazon.com. We review every product in the Tykoon store so it is kid safe. You can be assured that your kids will not be exposed to inappropriate products as they are shopping. In addition, you can control the product categories that your kids can see. Don’t want video games? No problem. The choice is yours.
This is one part of the app that I’m not fully sold on, even though I shop online a lot. I’m not saying its a bad thing, because in this day and age, online shopping is part of life. But I’m not sure how great it’ll be for my 5 year old to finally earn the money for what he wants and have to wait to get it. Like today, he’s been working hard and saving to get a Nerf gun like his buddy Noah’s, and he finally had enough- so we took a side trip during other errands so he could get it- he’s been saving a long time and while we maybe could have saved a few dollars using the app, I’m not sure how fun or rewarding it would be for him to wait for the ship time. Also, what if they get there, and decide that the item really wasn’t worth spending their money on? On the other hand, kids do need to learn patience! My kids are on the younger side of the age appropriateness of this app anyway, so I think for older kids, the Amazon aspect is fabulous. I do love that you can control the categories seen.
Tykoon helps parents teach their kids money management skills and instill strong financial values. The app is customizable to each individual family’s financial values and the virtual environment is safe, secure and private. Kids earn through jobs, chores, and tasks; save based on personal and family goals; spend in a safe environment powered by Amazon.com; and give directly to charities through Network for Good.
EMPOWER YOUR KIDS TO LEARN THROUGH EXPERIENCE
• Assign your kids various tasks and chores such as cleaning their room, or one-time jobs and other daily responsibilities.
• Assign rewards based on your own family practices and values.
• View and approve all your of kids’ tasks in a single place and on any device.
• Instill balanced long-term financial practices that extend into adulthood by allocating earnings to the savings and setting savings goals.
• Encourage giving to charities and help your kids discover what it feels like to make an impact.
• Teach your kids how to spend their own money on pre-reviewed, kid safe products through Amazon.com.
• The Tykoon Spotted feature allows you to have a conversation with your kids while shopping beyond the word “No”. Your kids can capture photos of items they want to purchase with the iPhone or iTouch camera. They can set goals to purchase those items or add them to a wish list for birthday, holiday or back to school shopping.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Robust Parental Controls – Tykoon has over 25 parental control and privacy settings that you control; including your kids’ connections with other kids, and access to shopping and charity categories. We also have simple and robust notifications and 24/7 alert settings that keep you informed on any activity in your family account.
Multi User Design – Many families share iPhones and iTouches between members. When using the Tykoon app, you can create unique passcodes for each parent account. If your kids use your iPhone or iTouch to use the app, we verify the identity of each family member and display only the relevant account information.
I think this app is AWESOME. My kids really like it and are enjoying being able to keep track and enter things. My oldest is obsessed with wish lists since her birthday is a few weeks away and she’s very much enjoying that aspect…although she seems to think she’s getting a computer and a “real” ipod…neither of which she is getting…so maybe she’ll have her first saving goal!
There’s an extra benefit for parents: if you invite 5 friends to sign up and if they stay on for one month, you will get a $25 Amazon gift card! I invited a ton of my friends before I even realized they have this offer- because I think this is a GREAT financial tool.
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Tykoon. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating