- Children learn what they see. How can you teach children about the horrors of impulse spending when you are guilty of it yourself? Clean up your act, first. In school, kids are taught the basics: reading, writing, mathematics, and science, rarely are they taught money management. Therefore, as an influential presence in a child’s life, you have the opportunity to shape their thoughts and views regarding personal finance.
- Make it fun! If it starts to feel like a school lesson, then you will start to sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown. Several online resources available can make learning more enjoyable. For example, the FREE online video game I played yesterday on Mint’s Education page is both fun and illustrates how smart money decisions equals #winning
- Break it down so it is understandable. When I was younger, I couldn’t understand why my mom told me we couldn’t afford a monkey (a pet I was totally obsessed with having), when I saw her simply put her ATM card in the machine and magically receive money back for the things she wanted. Explaining where money comes from is a good place to start in the conversation about money.
- Stop reinforcing bad behaviors. Merchants put all the goodies closest to the register for a reason. Not only are all of the goodies close to checkout, they are often strategically placed at a child’s eye level. This sets up the stage for several scenarios that counter-act the concept of smart money management. I worked in retail while in college and I saw kids and parents alike get suckered into buying items they had no intention of buying. I also witnessed, more often than not, the adults who bribed children into good behavior with the promise of a purchase. One way to stop reinforcing bad behavior is to explain that we are going into this store for “xyz” and if a tantrum for an impulse buy comes up, explain that if you want the item, you must save “blank” amount of money…also known as establishing financial goals #5.
- Make Financial Goals Together. Want a new bike? Video game? Nail Polish Set? Bracelet? Start saving. Adults if you want a new TV, that cute handbag from the other day, or that iPad 2….start saving. If you save and enjoy it, then they will too. In addition, there is much gratification to be found in accomplishing a goal.
OTHER GREAT RESOURCES
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