John Dryden, the famous English poet, once said, “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” If you take a moment to reflect, you will realize there is no greater truth than this. Our behaviour is a manifestation of our habits, both good and bad. You can notice it more specifically in the way you manage your money. For instance, being prudent or extravagant are outcomes of thoughts that are deeply ingrained in your minds.
It is an unfortunate fact that our education system does not focus enough on finance lessons. Once you are on your own, you realize its importance and often, learn it the hard way. This is the reason you must impart finance lessons to your kids from an early age. You can start as early as 3 years and teach them simple concepts as they grow older.
The best way to give money lessons to your kids is through simple activities. Here are a few examples to give them a head start.
Set an example
Your child’s first school in your home. A study by the University of Cambridge found that children form money habits by the time they reach 7 years of age. You may not be too conscious of what they are picking up from you but those little pairs of eyes and ears are always open. They are constantly watching your actions and learning. They are listening to your money woes or any money-related arguments between you and your spouse. They are noticing if you shop uninhibited every time you go to the mall. If you are not already mindful, the best way to start is to modify your actions to set an ideal example for them.
Teach them to save
As parents, it is natural if you want to spoil your children silly. You may not realize the consequences but they may become habitual of getting everything they put their fingers on. So the next time, they ask for an expensive toy or school supplies, ask them to save first. Piggy banks are good but try using clear jars for saving money. Clear jars will show them how their savings grow every time they put a coin or a bill into that jar.
Show them what it means to earn
Do you swipe your plastic card for every purchase that you make? Remember those little eyes are watching and they make take it to be a magic card. They may not realize how hard you work to make money. You can pass on this mantra of life to your kids in simple ways. Ask them to help with house chores if they want to buy that expensive Lego set. Once they have collected enough money, ask them to take money out of their jars and pay for their purchase. Trust me, they will value their toys all the more and may even think twice before asking for expensive toys again.
Teach them to be grateful
Your children can live a more content life if they learn to be grateful for what they have. Satisfaction and gratitude come from the heart. In this age of social media, they may get influenced by what their friends are doing. For instance, your teenager may ask for a fancy car on the 18th birthday. Instead of breaking your bank account, tell them how an inexpensive model will be just as good. A fantastic way to instil gratefulness is by giving. Ask them to make a separate jar for sharing or for charity. They can use this whenever they see someone in need and feel an urge to reach out and help. Eventually, they will learn how this simple act of selflessness is good both for the giver and the taker.
Introduce them to banks
It is advisable to open bank accounts for them as they hit their teens. Show them how simple transactions work. For instance, withdrawal and transferring funds. It will help them in the long run and they will find it easier to manage large amounts later in their life.
Teaching your kids about money will certainly take time. You may even have to think about some innovative ways to teach important lessons. However, your efforts will help them in living a stress-free and content life.