Show Me The Money!

The economy is bad. We all know it, and we are all worried about it. We are a nation of consumers, and the credit card companies and mortgage lenders have convinced us to feel good about spending money we don’t really have. And so here we are in 2009, in one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression.

What’s a parent to do about all of this? Start training your kids about money NOW.

Don’t wait! Your children are never too young to learn the value of money and, more importantly, to begin to develop a healthy relationship with money.

You cannot teach your children how to manage money by just talking to them about it, or by lecturing them about it, or by sharing your own wisdom with them (nice as that would be). Kids have to practice. Yes, practice how to handle money from the youngest of ages.

Think about it: wouldn’t you rather have your child, at age five, practice spending and saving money for the first time with the small amount of allowance they get, than have your child, at age 18, practice for the first time with his or her brand new credit card?

At Parenting On Track™, we believe that learning how to spend, save and give away money is a life skill that takes many years to acquire. You, as parents, have the opportunity to give your children the chance to practice this skill as soon as they are old enough not to put the money into their mouths. You do this by giving them an allowance at the weekly Family Meeting and, well, that’s it.

Once you have given your children their allowance, you no longer have any say over what they do with it. Take a deep breath; there’s more. On the other hand, you aren’t required to buy anything for them beyond their basic needs. So, this means that

  • When they ask, in the grocery store, for that piece of candy, you get to say, YES. “Did you bring your money?”
  • And when they want that designer jacket that all their friends have, you say, YES. “Do you have enough money saved to buy it?”
  • And finally, when they ask for their own cell phone, you can say, YES. “Will your allowance and part-time job cover the monthly bill?”

The best way to teach your children the value of money is to allow them to learn it for themselves. For more information on allowance, money management and helping your children create a healthy relationship with money, check out the MP3 on Money Management on our website. It’s never too early or too late to invest in promoting a healthy relationship between your children and money.

2 thoughts on “Show Me The Money!

  1. Yesterday we saw a store that had interesting items in it for kids and my five year old wanted to go get her sister a gift. “Did you bring your money?” I asked, “Yes.” Okay, I was surprised but acted cool. “How much do you have?” I knew once we got in there that all the items she would want would be too expensive and that was the lesson I wanted to teach her about money. I wanted her to learn that when you only have $2.00 you can only buy something worth $2.00. As an adult I rarely have cash and realize that my children are learning that everything is bought using a credit card. We went in with the agreement that we could only spend about 5-10 minutes in the store and that we had about $2.00 to spend. I went straight for the stickers and erasers. My daughter went straight for the toys. “How much is this?” “$4.95, you don’t have enough for that.” This back and forth took almost the whole time. Then I guided her to the front near the stickers and erasers. We found everything there was $1.99. She was satisfied with the Rudolph the Reindeer nose for $2.11 with tax (a whole different lesson she was completely baffled by.)
    She did not end up buying it for her sister but convinced her sister should use her money to buy the flashing nose too. I actually bought one for the 2 year old and it was a fun afternoon of Reindeer games.

    Everyone carries their money in their backpacks now so they always have their money. Perfect.

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