When you have kids, it’s natural to want to shield them from the more complicated workings of the adult world. But when your kids are young, that’s actually the perfect time to gently introduce them to topics that grow infinitely more complicated as we get older.
You don’t have to expose your elementary schooler to the divisiveness of the current political scene, but you can explain the importance of your civic responsibility by voting. And you don’t have to teach your six-year-old how to balance a checkbook, but you can teach them age-appropriate ways to manage money wisely. Here are some great tips and tricks to help you impart financial responsibility in a way that makes sense to your kids:
1. Stick to the List
If you’ve had the pleasure of taking your kid to the store, you know all about the whining that takes place no matter how quickly you hustle up and down the aisles. One’s bored, the other one’s hungry, somebody’s cold, someone has to pee, and most of all, everyone wants a treat or a toy. It can be tempting to give in, especially if you think it’s going to buy you a little peace and quiet. But it’s important to stick to your guns and stick to the list. By letting your kids know you only have enough money for the purchases you planned to make, you’re communicating the importance of planning wisely and sticking to your budget.
2. Make Allowances Count
Some parents give their kids an allowance without attaching any expectations to it. But having kids earn their allowance helps normalize the concept of having a job and being compensated for it.
You can have your kids earn their allowance by earning good grades, helping with chores around the house, or even doing good deeds. Even younger kids can help with volunteer positions at places like food banks and animal shelters: make volunteering a part of their routine, but pay them for their time so they really get a concrete idea of what it’s like to work outside of the house.
Making a household chart is a great way to track expectations and allowance.