When it comes to teaching children about wise money management, it’s never too early to start and help them develop healthy habits for the rest of their lives. The most important thing to consider is that teaching by example is the best method, and yields long-lasting results. Make sure you set the standards, and allow your children to see how you deal with financial issues, how you create a budget for the household needs, how you decide on the shopping lists, and how you hunt for bargains, and they will quickly start doing the same.
It All Starts with a Game
There are lots of games that focus on money and financial-related issues. The most popular, of course, is Monopoly, and, after many years, it’s still a great way to enjoy some quality time with the entire family, with adults and children having fun together. Besides the board games, there are also computer and mobile applications designed especially for children, interactive websites, and computer games where kids learn how to save now in order to purchase bigger things later.
The best part is that many of these games and applications are free, so you won’t have to spend anything for this part. If your child already has an interest in technology and gaming, it might be easier to convince him or her to play a computer game than to sit down and watch you adding boring columns of numbers in order to calculate the savings plan.
Not Everything Is about Money
Younger children will not understand the concept of delayed gratification easily, and they will probably have trouble figuring out exactly how much a product is worth, and what they could do with their savings. While it is a good idea to encourage them to save, sometimes it’s also wise to reward them with something else, and not just money. For example, you can set a reward when the amount in the piggy bank exceeds a certain threshold, and that reward can be a new toy, a trip to the zoo, or even something small, such as a crayon or candy. It’s important for children to have a short-term goal they can realistically achieve, and a reward they can easily understand.
Your main opponent in the struggle to teach your kids about money is the society that creates needs, where there were none before. Commercials that push products aggressively, magazines and TV shows depicting children and teenagers who have everything, and, of course, the all-present peer pressure at school will take a toll on the children. One of the sentences that parents fear the most is “but everybody has one of these!”.
Try to shift the perspective by introducing children to the less fortunate people who live around us. It’s only natural to want to protect your kids from the misfortunes of life, but it’s important to teach them that owning things does not equal happiness, and that doing a good deed is its own reward. Participating in a charity program that encourages direct contact with the people you help is a great way to show how saving some money, and not buying a new toy, can actually improve somebody’s life.
Janice, the author of this article has good experience in the finance field, specializes in the process of settling debts and she has written several articles on credit card, debt, loans for people with bad credit, insurance, mortgage for those people who would need financial assistance and proper advice.