A Georgia mom is winning parental praise for the way she’s teaching her children, ages 13, 10 and 6, about money.
Shaketha McCregor, a single mom in Dublin, Georgia, said she knew she needed a creative solution after constant requests from her three kids for things like cell phones and money to do things with their friends.
“I was like I don’t want to just give it to them,” she told “Good Morning America.” “I want to do something different to make them work for it this time around so they will appreciate it more.”
McGregor had already overcome two major financial obstacles herself. She battled cancer in 2016, a fight that she said left her family temporarily homeless, and then the family lost their house and most of their belongings last year in a house fire.
McGregor now works for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice in a job that allowed her to start to give her kids back some of the luxuries, like allowance, they had lived without.
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She came up with the idea to host a "job fair" for her three children, Jahkeem, in seventh grade, Takeia, in fifth grade, and Serinity, in first grade. The three openings at the job fair were for kitchen manager, lead housekeeper and laundry supervisor.
McGregor also told her kids the family now had a credit union. They would each be given a credit score and have the ability to earn points for things like finishing homework on time.
“I told them the night before that I had a surprise for them when they came home from school so they were really excited,” McGregor said. “When they came through the door it was kind of like a, ‘Yay!’ to an ‘Ohhhh. Really?’”
Jahkeem, Takeia and Serinity nonetheless each picked the job they wanted to apply for, filled out the application and had interviews with their potential employer -- their mom.
“My oldest and my youngest both applied for the same position and, unfortunately for my older son, he did not get the position,” McGregor said. “My 6-year-old, I was more impressed with her application and her interview than my 13-year-old.”
“And she said she could start immediately, and he needed a few days before he could start, and she was a cheaper hire,” McGregor added.
McGregor's kids were even welcomed to their new jobs with orientation sessions where they got their own name tags and had to complete new hire forms.
"I want them to be a little bit familiar with the process when they are older," she said. "Whether they’re applying for school or a new job or something, they can look back and say, ‘I did this with mom all those years ago.’"
McGregor also hopes her kids learn about savings and credit and the value of hard work, all things she said she did not fully understand and appreciate until she was an adult.
"Adulthood happens and it happens hard and sometimes you’re just not prepared for it," she said. "As a parent you want to protect your children from as much as possible but you know that eventually they’re going to have to go through it on their own and that’s why life’s greatest lessons are through experience."
The experiment is working well so far, according to McGregor. She said it has allowed for quality family time and that her kids are learning valuable life lessons like when you don't work a lot of hours you get paid less, and when you play basketball instead of doing your job you are summoned for a talk with your manager (or mom).
McGregor's post on Facebook where she shared her job fair idea now has more than 200,000 likes and counting. She said she hopes it inspires other parents to think outside of the box and let their kids' voices be heard.
"It’s all about finding what works for your family and listening to your kids," she said. "Really talk to your children and see some things that they’re really interested [in] and find out how those can be implemented around the house and into life lessons."
"What I’m realizing is kids just want to be counted and to be part of something," McGregor said.