As a parent, one of the most important things you can do for your kids is to talk to them about money. Within this conversation or series of conversations, you should try to instill in them the importance of saving. So many parents nowadays see money and finances as a taboo topic with their kids, but they should really be seeing money as an opportunity to teach their kids about important life lessons.
Here are some ways that you can change the conversation surrounding money. These tips are simple ways that you can take previously taboo topics from uncomfortable and awkward to future building, valuable life lessons.
Use Their Allowances
The purpose here is not to demonize allowances. Many parents give their kids allowances and it can be done responsibly. If you give your child an allowance, let them know that it’s up to them to save for what they really want. Many parents choose to have their children work for their allowance. If there are projects around the house that your children can do, set a price on it and allow the children to equate earning money with a job well done.
There are many ways you can use your children’s allowances to teach them important lessons about money. Make sure you’re talking about needs versus wants with your kids. If you have a daughter who buys cheap trinkets and meaningless toys with every dime she has, she’s not learning much. Take the chance to talk to your child about the value of buying what you need and saving up for things that you really want.
Teach the Value of Delayed Gratification
In today’s day and age, it seems that people never want to wait for anything. Encourage your kids to talk about what they want to do with their money. Have them envision what their future looks like. There may be a toy or an item out on the shelves right now that they want. They may even have the money to buy it right that instant. Teach your children to delay gratification and the item will have much more value when they do get it.
Before your child spends money on anything, encourage them to sleep on it. Take a day or two to think it over. At some ages, your child will still want it in 2 or 3 days. Younger children will probably forget about it. Teach your kids that if they want something bad enough, they will want it just as much in a couple days.
Gift Them a Piggy Bank
No matter how old your kids are when they get started with money, they’re never too old for a piggy bank. Now this can look like whatever you want it to: an actual piggy bank, an empty milk carton, an unused vase. Whatever it is, you can use this to teach your kids that saving a little at a time can go a long way. Depending on the age of your kids, you can make it a game to see how fast you can fill up the piggy bank with little coins that add up over time.
Opening up the lines of communication about money is one of the hard things about being a parent. Start early and talk about money often so that it doesn’t feel like a taboo subject. Being open and honest with your kids about these potentially difficult topics can encourage a more trusting and open relationship with your children.