While children don't need to worry about money and family finances, learning how to manage money is an important life skill that should be learned from a young age.
Play is how young children learn best, so role playing shops, banks etc is a great way of introducing the concept of money.
When shopping, ask the kids to look for the cheapest item on a shelf – so which has the biggest or smallest numbers.
Making sure that you are not a ‘yes’ parent will help with them understanding the ‘no’ too. So, make sure that your child isn’t used to getting everything they want all the time.
If you are a family who are having to make some sacrifices at the moment, such as getting rid of things like Netflix, a simple explanation that you can no longer afford it will suffice, and then make sure that they know there are other channels that they can watch instead. Often when we take out these subscriptions, we primarily use them, but kids’ programmes are available for free on iPlayer, ITV HUB, YouTube etc, and often the same as what they will have been watching, and I think most children will be ok with that. It could also be a good excuse for reducing screen time.
Introducing pocket money from as young as six-years, as little as £1 a week, can hand over some of the responsibility of buying things to the kids. It’s a great way for them to learn about making right choices. You can be in charge of what the money is spent on – not on sweets for instance, but it is a useful to let your child make decisions, so that they learn if they are making good or bad decisions with their money.
Including them in the weekly shop can also help them learn about budgeting. Teaching our kids about budgets is important, but encouraging them to go and find the items on your list, within a certain budget, can be a fun way of instilling good habits.
Helping kids to understand the value of things and when something is just too expensive, is also an important lesson, showing them the alternatives instead.
And, it doesn’t harm to have a discussion about things that we need versus things that we want, and how the things we need are most important.
Talk openly with your teens about money, but don’t go hard on the economic detail. Make sure they understand the importance of being financially responsible and that while at the moment you may give them an allowance, once they can get a job, that will stop.
If you are having to make changes to save money at home, then make the changes clear: you’ve cancelled a subscription, or there won’t be a Saturday night takeaway every week now, for instance. You could also stress the importance of switching the lights off etc to help keep energy bills low.
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