So I have realised that kids these days take a lot for granted. We all want the best for our children. We work hard to provide them with things that we did or didn’t have when we were young. But there’s a danger in that. Because children can end up taking everything for granted. For birthdays and Christmas in particular, our children receive so many presents from family and friends that I don’t feel like they fully appreciate each and every one like I’d hoped. So maybe it’s time to change tactics. It’s time to start actively teaching them that everything costs money and that money does not grow on trees.
Our two children are currently 6 and 7 years of age, but it’s never too early to start teaching them the value of money. When I was a kid, I worked hard to save enough money to buy what I wanted. I remember saving up for my first ever CD (Mariah Carey – Emotions). I wanted that CD soooo bad and it took me months to save up the amount I needed to buy it. Chore by chore, 50 cents at a time, I saved and saved. Keeping a tally sheet on the fridge; every time I washed out the dairy, helped dad feed hay to the cows, massaged dad’s feet, cooked dinner or cleaned the house etc., I would earn another 50 cents towards my CD. Boy did I love that CD once I finally got it! This made me realise that you have to work hard for your money. It has to be earned.
So what better way to teach them to earn money, than by putting them to work? I have seen a fantastic list of age appropriate chores. It’s time to print this out and start delegating!
About a year ago, we already started to get the kids to complete a couple of regular chores each. My daughter sets the table each night and takes the glass bottles and jars out to the recycling bin each week. My son puts the drinks on the table each night for dinner and helps me cook dinner on the odd occasion. They also bring their dirty dishes to the sink after dinner, put their dirty laundry in the basket and keep their rooms reasonably tidy. But we have never paid them for it — I’m not fully convinced I should either. I do want to teach them to earn their money but, at the same time, I also think that there are some things around the house that they should just do – well just because they have to be done (and not for the money). Everyone in the family has a responsibility to help. However, they are now old enough to help out even more around the house and a bit of coinage might be all the motivation they need. Perhaps it’s time to make a chore chart?! Do you have a chore chart at home? Do you reward your children with pocket money?
I read that children are ready for pocket money once they understand that;
- it’s important to save money, and not spend it all
- you need money to get things from shops
- spending all their money today means there’s no more until the next payment.
So I think that our kids are ready and I plan to give this a go. My idea is that if they complete all of their daily tasks, then they get their pocket money at the end of the week, which they can put into their piggy banks. They can then save for a special toy or a special outing, like the movies etc. It’s another win-win situation really. They get to save for things they want and I get some extra help around the house.
As I mentioned in my post, ‘What my parents taught me about parenting‘, some parents give their children everything they want and rarely say ‘no’. Maybe out of guilt or maybe they believe that their child will suffer trauma if his every desire is not met. Children will suffer much more throughout their lives if they develop the belief that love means others should give them everything they ask for. Teaching our children that money needs to be earned is such a vital life lesson that they will thank us for as adults.
Actually our children are already learning about money just by watching us, the parent, and how we deal with money. How we spend, earn, save, withdraw or donate money – these are all chances to teach your child more about the basics of money management.
As children get older, you can teach them about:
- the value of money: the relative price of things
- spending: accepting that money is gone once it’s spent
- earning: understanding that earning money can be hard work, but usually that’s the only way to get it
- saving: using short-term and long-term goals
- borrowing: understanding the importance of repaying borrowed money
So hopefully I can teach them this valuable life lesson, the value of money. Wish me luck!