As kids these days already seem to have everything, come birthdays and Christmas it’s becoming more common to gift kids money over another toy. We’ve all seen it - our kids get a shiny new toy they’re obsessed with for a few days, but before long it’s been left abandoned in favour of something else.
While encouraging kids to pick out and purchase their own gifts is a great way to combat #stuffocation, it’s more important than ever to impart your years of accumulated financial wisdom onto your children.
Here are a few of our tips on how to get the ball rolling:
While you don’t need to follow in the footsteps of the Melbourne parents who recently bought their preschoolers their own houses, you can definitely start to make younger kids aware of the concept of money.
Try to weave this in with what they’re learning at school, like numbers - help the kids to identify all the coins, notes and their values; or get them to add up coins to make a certain value.
Now is also a great time to instil a savings mentality - help your little one set up a piggy bank, and show them how putting away a small amount over time can help them save for something they really want. Teaching delayed gratification now will save you a lot of headaches later!
Teach the Value of Work
Our kids are predicted to have numerous different jobs and careers throughout their lives, so it’s important they understand how working allows them to buy the things they need. Bring your kids along to work with you if possible, so they can see first-hand what their parents do when they’re not home.
Assigning chores in exchange for a few dollars can also be a great incentive for kids to develop their work ethic (not to mention you’ll have a quieter house while they’re working, and a cleaner one when they’re done!)
For teens, start encouraging them to think about part-time work and where they might like to apply. Having an income that they have earned outside of Mum or Dad can be really empowering - as long as you’re there to make sure they don’t blow all of their hard-earned cash!
Keep It Visible
As our society becomes increasingly cashless, putting everything onto your card may seem like the most convenient option - but can lead kids to develop unrealistic ideas about how money works.
Involve kids in age-appropriate money discussions (such as setting a grocery budget when taking them to the supermarket); and give pocket money in cash, even as they get older.
Be transparent as a family when talking about the worth of certain items; putting the cost of an object or bill into the context of how many days at work it would be worth can help kids conceptualise differing amounts of money, without needing to get specific.