How we handle our financial obligations in adulthood is largely influenced by our upbringing and the attitudes our parents had towards money. It is common to hear parents complaining about being broke, demeaning the wealthy, why they cannot afford good things in life or be like the jones’. Children also watch spendthrift or frugal spending habits from parents which may cause them to be kind, irresponsible, corrupt or mean spirited people in future. My desire as i parent is to train on healthy money habits which will help my child view money as means and not an end to living a richer life. Below are five lessons that i feel are crucial to teach a child on money:
How to earn money
Let your child/children know that it is healthy to perform chores around the house. After all it’s their house not the house helps. The important bit for parents is to appreciate the difference between chores that are responsibilities and other duties that take extra effort and discipline which can be rewarded. These should be assessed and assigned to ensure they match the age and the abilities of the kids. Most children by the age of 5 years understand money and its power to buy items. If your child can recognize this, then its time you begin establishing an allowance system.
A five year old may be expected to put away toys but can be rewarded with an allowance for making their bed or wiping the dinner table. A 9 year old should be able to water the kitchen garden but can earn money for thoroughly washing the car. Cleaning the house is expected for a 16 year old but baking cupcakes is a great opportunity to offer them a cash incentive.
The purpose of money
Teach responsible money management in activities such as budgeting or when making financial decisions. If you ask a child ‘what is the purpose of money?’ the answer is likely to be ‘money buys stuff or food.’ Let children know that money provides for basic needs, fulfils personal goals or dreams and helps meet the needs of others.
Money is attracted to value – Dr. MYLES MUNROE.
Explain the power of money
Children must understand that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. Budgeting is a great way to teach how to cultivate control over money. Help your child to create a simple budget each time you go shopping and stick to it strictly. The budget should have an expenses and savings column. Their savings can be directed towards a goal such as foreign language classes, sport training, toys clothing and donations for charity.
Money can develop strong character
Allow your child/children to make independent decisions and expect a few mistakes along the way. Also offer praise when they show responsible behaviour. Children must be aware that good money management produces self-discipline. They must save some money and stick to a budget. Savings take time to grow or earn an interest therefore they must be patient. The need to develop self-control and resist impulse buying . They must develop resilience which is the ability to assess and reorganize themselves after a financial disappointment. They should also show community responsibility because a good money manager reaches out to others in need.
Honouring GOD in giving
God desires that we place Him before money and worldly possessions available. Children must be taught this wisdom. You can train your child on giving of tithes and offerings as opposed to issuing them with a few coins which they casually drop into the offering basket during the service. Make the act of giving purposeful. I’ll always be grateful to my dad who always insisted that for every ten shilling coin for the offering that 1 shilling is meant for tithe. I did not understand it then, but I do now.