A lot of parents avoid discussing money or finances with their children, due to the fear of not knowing what to say or where to start. Like everything else, if we as parents or guardians don’t step in, somebody else will, and chances are, they will be the farthest thing from the ideal substitute teacher we’d want.
It’s not that complicated, and with the right approach everybody can do it. All you need are the following basics, as discussed by Dave Ramsey and other financial gurus.
You work, you make money, you don’t work you don’t make money. This is a good time to use the time-tested phrase “Money does not grow on trees”
Save some money for a rainy day or for long-term goals. Spend some time here explaining to them why we need to save, using simple examples from your day-to-day living. For young kids, limit the time frame to a few weeks while older kids can work with a longer time frame.
Help your children learn how to prioritize their spending decisions, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each.
I recall once spending about fifteen minutes at a local Target store watching my little one agonize over spending her five dollars on a toy she really, really needed (her words), or buying some candy. It was very tempting to jump in and make the decision for her, but I have learnt to be patient while being supportive as they work out those decisions.
They’ll make mistakes, but that’s okay, after all it’s a learning process, and it will help them avoid more expensive mistakes in future.
I teach my children, that we are stewards of the property and money given to us by God, so it’s nice to share some of that with those who are less fortunate. As christians, we give our tithes to our local church.
Children are very generous by nature, encourage them to stay the path. Involve them in finding charitable organizations and/or events they they can be part of, which makes the giving more tangible.
For example, every year, my company sponsors a back to school event for a local boys and girls club; employees participate by shopping for a specific child. I typically pick out a child close to my daughter’s age or younger, and we all go shopping as a family for this child. I encourage everybody to chip in from their giving envelope, and this is one of the times when the girls actually want to spend all their giving and sometimes their spending money as well. It’s become one of our summer highlights, and we now include it in the family calendar along with other family activities.
Finally remember to have some fun with the kids as you go through the process.