Given that, we are raising children that will someday be responsible adults and the new leaders of our world, we must begin teaching our children about money now. The sooner, the better.
- We must model responsibility with money. I'm sure you've heard the saying "kids are like sponges", well they are and unfortunately, they do what they see us do. If we model responsible behavior and make smart decisions with our money, our children are more likely to develop those habits themselves.
- It is important to begin by teaching our kids where money comes from. Most children 5 and younger think that money grows on tree's, is in mommy's purse or daddy's wallet or simply comes out of the ATM machine (as put by my advanced, yet so innocent 5-year old son). I read a story somewhere about a 5-year old that had recently discovered that his father went to work to make a living. When the father came home from work, the 5-year old asked, "How was work today?" "Fine," the father replied. The child then asked, "Did you get the money?" How adorable... Although children at this age are not mentally prepared to grasp the full understanding of money and it's importance, we still need to plant the seed in their "sponges" so that they will grow to understand.
- Start giving kids an allowance at a young age. If your child is anything like mine, they want you to buy everything they see in ever store they go in. I love my son dearly, but I dread taking him shopping with me because the only conversation he has is, "mommy, can I have..." To reduce some of the unnecessary "dreadness", I began implementing the, "you want it, you buy it" rule. Its amazing how selective my son gets with his, " I want list" when faced with having to pay for it himself. I will give my son a special gift or toy, as a positive reinforcement when he does a good job on something outside of his day-to-day activities and responsibilities. However, if he has not earned that "something special", he has to go and consult with his Super Mario Bros wallet because of the "you want it, you buy it" rule. This brilliant rule is teaching my son, the value of money and that if you want it, you must earn it. Also, when it is gone, you must earn it again. Although, this rule is still a work in progress, im still planting the seeds so that he will grow to understand.