Teaching children the value of money isn’t always an easy task. Getting them to understand the whole concept of money not growing on trees can be challenging, especially when it’s in our nature to want to spoil them and give them everything their little hearts desire.
I wrote this post recently about how my husband and I tend to say no quite a bit as parents and I think this approach to parenting often spills over into areas such as these. We do say no quite a lot but we also love to say yes to treats and spoils. I love it that because of our way of raising them to know they can’t always have what they want, they are the kind of kids who don’t nag and cry for things every time we walk into a toy shop or past an ice-cream parlour. They also don’t cry or have tantrums if we say no to buying them things. They are learning to respect our decision and very seldom question why we have said no. I can remember about 2 years ago walking into our local toy shop and the shop assistant commended me for having such well-behaved kids. (Don’t we love it when that happens!!??) She said she had never seen such respectful sweet kids come in to the toy shop as often as we did, who didn’t even ask for something for themselves while picking out a birthday gift for a friend. It felt good knowing my kids, at such a young age already understood that walking into a toy shop didn’t mean they were entitled to get something.
Of course they are kids though and kids love toys and scrummaging through toy shops for marbles and yo-yos and Collectable Cards. So we usually give them pocket money based on how well they have done during the week and then let them choose one or two little nik-nak toys like these on a Friday afternoon. Often what they love to do is choose to go for an ice-cream or milk-shake, which I love because it teaches them to sometimes choose memories over things! Incentives like this really do go a long way and it’s amazing to see how something so small can make them so happy!
But every so often their eyes shift over to the more expensive isle and I see their eyes open wide with hopefull anticipation. This always opens up a great conversation about choosing a higher priced toy and what they are able to buy with their budget. If they have their eye on something bigger and of higher value, they will need to save up for it and use their following week’s allowance. This teaches them the value of money as well as patience. Sometimes they need to find it in them to overcome their need for immediate gratification, for something more worthwhile.
So this is how we do it in our home. How do you encourage healthy money choices with your kids? Have you even started the conversations yet? I personally feel they are never too young to start appreciating money and developing a healthy respect for how money works. Giving children weekly pocket money (Even if it’s as little as R10) is a great way of starting these conversations and hopefully teaching them that money is earned and worked hard for. It may even make them stop before they ask you for the next big thing. If they know how many chores they need to do before getting their weekly wage, they may even begin to appreciate you for all the work you do to bring in the big moola required to feed, clothe and house them! Here’s hoping! ♥
This post was written in collaboration with Gumtree as part of their #Moneysmartmoms initiative.
Images courtesy of Angela Rea Photography