As a parent, it’s our job (yes, I’m a mom) to teach our kids. There is a lot they will learn in school, and they will probably have a lesson or two on financials in school, but as far as I’m concerned this is mostly on us as parents. So, what should we do? Here’s how I see it. You know the phrase “do as I say, not as I do?” Probably not the most fitting for this! Don’t’ get me wrong, those words have come out of my mouth a time or two. Or three. However, teaching by example is the way to get it done.
1) Pay in cash when you are able. Where learning how to use credit cards and manage your credit is also a good thing (and a whole different topic), let’s start with the basics here. We need to show our kids that if you want something, you have to give your money away for it. The easiest way to do that is to make a purchase, give the cashier your dollar bills and/or coins and have your child watch them hand you your purchase. Sounds trivial, but you have to start at the beginning.
2) Put spare change into a piggy bank for your child(ren). Once it’s full take them to the bank to cash in their coins for deposit. FOR DEPOSIT being the key words here. Put in their bank account and have them watch their balance grow. Okay, that’s not a ton of fun, so if you’d like, you can let them take a minimal amount and go buy a toy after making your deposit at the bank. Rewards are good.
3) Many schools partner with banks. Don’t just put that notice from the school off to the side in the “I don’t have time for this” pile. Read it and participate. Write a small check when the bank visits the school for your child to make a deposit themselves, and have your child help you fill out the deposit slip.
4) When your child wants an item, have them set a goal and work toward earning the money to pay for it. So, the next time your child falls to the knees in Target, or throws a fit while watching a commercial about the new sparkling Elsa doll or the latest edition of MarioKart, tell them they can buy it themselves when they have enough money.
5) Talk as you shop. While you’re putting groceries in your cart, explain to your child(ren) why you chose the bag of Kraft cheese instead of the Sargentto brand (Kraft is on sale this month so we can save some money).
So, set a good example and take time to explain things to your kids. It will pay off!
If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:
Mom, You Want Me to Put My Money WHERE?
Fun Ways to Teach Kids about Money
Bank Jargon 101