Like everything else, children follow their parents in money matters also. Teaching about the value of money at an early age is good for their future life. Here I am sharing how I am teaching it to ‘Sh1.’
- Talk about the Money & It’s value
- Gift them not one but 3 piggy banks
- Let them Earn Money
- Teach them to wait
- Include them in a home budget
- Let them shop
- Encourage them to share
- Be a Role Model
Talk about Money & It’s value:
When ‘sh1’ turns 4.5 years, one fine day, I started to explain him about money. I explained to him how we are earning money and how much work each of us contributes to making that. I told the value of money and how much each thing around our house cost us and so how important it is to not spoil/break/scribble on anything. Told him how much we spend for each & every food and how we should not waste it. This gave him an overall idea of everything.
Gift them not one but 3 piggy banks:
Now he knows the importance of money in our life. But how to make him handle it? So I gifted three different color piggy bank to him. Spending, Saving, Sharing. So whenever he gets the money, he has to put it in the boxes in turns. Spending one is for his own wish list. Saving is for long term say for 5 years. Sharing is for charity distribution. ( Each Christmas his school collected donations. So the sharing is for that and other donations similar to that.)
Let them Earn Money:
How to give money to the piggy bank? I don’t want to give it to him ‘just like that.’ I want him to feel like he earns it. I didn’t introduce the allowance system either as I felt he was too young for the that. So I prepared a chart. With the simple chores with weekly calendar. So whenever he did the thing on that board, he can have one ‘star’ sticker. So when he reached 25 stars, I give him $1. That was the time he started to do everything on his own(Brushing, bathing, restroom duties, etc.) But suddenly he needed me for everything. The arrival of his baby brother made him insecure and so needed my attention all the time. This chart encouraged him to do the things on his own again.
Later I found this Melissa & Doug daily chores chart with stickers which made it easy to implement the idea.
I knew two different opinions are there about giving money for the house chores. But for me, it worked well. As I never gave money for any particular work but for 25 stickers he didn’t feel like he is doing things for money. At the same time, he is happy to have money for his piggy bank which he values as a result of his work.
Teach them to wait:
So he is having his ‘spending money’ and so wants to spend it immediately whenever we went for shopping. In one way it was good. He knew how much money he has in his hand and so was looking for the toys within that price range. But on the contrary, I didn’t want it to be a habit. So I made a system. The ‘spending money’ is for his birthday present. He has to save the money for the whole year. On his birthday he can get whatever he wants by his savings money. This was also worked out. So he made a wishlist and working on it. And the same way we never bought anything to him the moment he asked. I will ask him
- Why he needs that now? (make them realize the difference between needs/wants)
- What is the purpose of it?
- Does he have anything else for the same purpose already?
- How long he can use that?
- And how soon he needs that?
- If it’s not urgent, it can wait for another month.
And so we can save money for that.It really helps ‘sh1’ to realize the value of that particular thing.
Include them in a home budget:
I didn’t do this yet. But soon will do it. Make a rough budget of monthly expenses. The regular, electric bill, water bill, gas, school fees, TV/Internet/Phone bills, food, vegetables, snacks, entertainment, etc
And make your kids participate in it. Let them know how much we spend on everything.This makes them realize the value of everything. But be careful not to burden them with the money thoughts/Debt information. Don’t make them feel guilty that they are giving more expenses to you. At the same time don’t make them feel like you have plenty to spend.
Let them shop:
Take them to the local shopping, not to the supermarkets. Let them watch the way people bargain. Let them buy the vegetables from local vendors. That will not only teach them the value of money but also the value of food.
Encourage them to Donate:
Let them give their ‘sharing piggy bank’ money to the charity/Orphanage/Old age homes. Take them to the homes on any particular occasions and let them give the money. Let them watch the people’s happiness. It encourages them to share more. I didn’t do it either as we don’t have many options here. As I told earlier, we used to donate his sharing piggy bank to the Christmas charity at his school.
Be a Role Model:
Like I said, Children used to follow their parents in every aspects and money is not an exception. I knew the value of money from my parents. My dad is the one who teaches me how to save money and how ‘little drops make a big ocean.’ He used to have his coin box on his shelf. From the start of the month, he used to put money in that (mostly the coins), and it’s much useful by the end of the month for simple expenses. With a small income he managed to do everything ( Built a home, Well educated his two children and managed to save for their future) without any debts. And my mom who used to put our needs before her used to save the little money which turns into a big amount when we were in need.Still, I used to ask my parent’s opinion/ suggestions on big money thing.
Let your children see the way you handle the money. Take them to the bank and let them watch how you save the money. If possible open a recurring deposit or savings account in their name and encourage them to save. Be a Role Model and make your child learn from you.Above all teach them money is not all the happiness.
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