Children and money. Instilling a great work ethic and understanding of money is super important for my husband and I. We want our children to grow up with a positive relationship with money and how it is earned. As kids, it’s easy to have certain ideas about money:
- Money grows on trees
- Mom and dad are a walking ATM
- The tooth fairy is a wonderful provider
These are the concepts that a lot of children grow up believing, at least when they are very young. As they reach their teenage years, they may still think that parents are walking bank machines. They may still believe they should get what they want when they want it.
No matter how old our children are, we need to negate the myths they believe in and find ways to improve the relationship they have with money.
Be a Positive Role Model
Model positive financial behavior in the way you handle money. This means curbing the temptation to spend what you can’t afford. This means dealing with your debts responsibly and finding ways to restore credit. And this means owning up to the financial mistakes you have made and letting your children benefit from the lessons learned from your experiences.
How Much Do Things Cost?
Explain to your children how much things cost, whether that’s the food you buy from the supermarket or the utility bills you are spending your hard-earned money on each month. When your children know how much things cost, they will realize that such things as food and electricity aren’t free commodities. And who knows? This might stop them pestering you when you’re doing your food shopping. And this will help you when you are teaching them frugal habits around the home.
Teach Children to Save
I remember being young and having money burn a hole in my pocket. I couldn’t wait to spend it on something. Anything. Teach children to save their money rather than spending it on the first thing they see. is a great lesson. And then be disciplined in your response. If they run out of money, tell them they will have to wait until their next allowance if they want anything, rather than being a helicopter parent and bailing them out from within your own finances.
Make Learning Fun
Playing money games, and setting them challenges to find the cheapest items in the supermarket. This is better than going for other approaches that are only going to turn your children off from learning about money. I loved playing store as a kid, so you could set up your own store in your house as a learning tool.
Teach Children the Importance of Hard Work
This means telling your children about the job you do, and how the money you earn goes towards paying for household expenses. You should then put your kids to work. Give younger children chores to do around the home, giving them the opportunity to add to their piggy bank. Encourage teenage children to get a job like lifeguarding or at a restaurant. Perhaps they have the entrepreneurial spirit and want to start their own small business. Either way, encouraging them is key.
Children and Money
By improving the relationship between our children and money while they’re young, we are putting them in a better position to manage their finances now and when they reach adulthood. They may still make bad decisions – nobody’s perfect – but at least they will have something to teach their own children.