And just like that, you wondered what happened? Your child is asking for this toy, that game, and wanting expensive, brand name clothes. Happiness researchers say that spending money on others makes us feel good. But spending in what capacity?
Nothing in life is free
Next time you go to a store with your child, avoid succumbing to his unrelenting attempt to get him the latest toy, game, or expensive piece of clothing. You may think that buying him a toy to bribe him in order “to be good in the store” is going to be the answer. The quick fix? Maybe. But in the long run, what message is being sent to your child? Is this the way you want him to be learning about money?
If I beg, cry, and yell, I will get what I want because that works!
If you’ve been in this “spirit of giving” for quite some time, please be forewarned that the weaning off process may not be an easy one. It will most likely result in a decent amount of weeping and testing of your patience. Be ready for this and hold your ground firmly through this recovery period. For starters, tell your child that helping around the home is a necessary part of everyone’s responsibility. It is the price that must be paid in order to live and be a productive part of the family.
To communicate the importance of making contributions to the family, you can say something to this effect:
“You see how I do all of the meals and laundry for our family, your contributions to our family will include… because we help each other and care about one another.”
There is a difference between providing a safe, nurturing environment for your children with opportunity for learning and discovery, as opposed to overindulging them with the latest new toy or treat each time they make a request. As children grow older, their desires change and their wants grow bigger, but there is no reason why they can’t be learning about money and its value and self-discipline from an early age.
Schedule a list of chores for your child to do that are age-appropriate.
Examples of some regular household chores include:
- Empty indoor trash cans and take out the trash,
- Set the table for a family meal,
- Wipe down the table after a family meal,
- Load and unload the dishwasher,
- Fold laundry,
- Vacuum the house, and
- Make the bed and clean up the bedroom.
Fun ways for a child to make money.
Sometimes it may be best to let your children come up with their own means of how they would like to raise money. Your child may want to have a lemonade stand, bake and sell cookies, or have a second hand sale. Sometimes getting out of the way and not being overbearing and in control of their choices can make the process fun, empower their self-confidence, and spark their creativity.
Whatever you or your child decide on will ultimately establish a positive message that in order to get what you want in life, you have to work for it.
The next time you go to a store with your child and he asks you for a toy or treat, refrain from making the purchase out of your wallet. Instead, give your child the option to use his own allowance money that he has earned. Children who use their own money gain an appreciation and understanding of the value of things and how much they cost.
What age appropriate chores do your children assist you with at home?