Are you putting off ‘money talk’ with your kids? Perhaps you wonder how young is too young; how you might explain it; and whether they’re not better left untouched by money concerns until they’re older.
The thing is, the earlier your child understands money, the more likely they’ll have a healthy (and hopefully fruitful) relationship with it later in life.
Here are five tricks to make your child a money genius.
1. Good things come to those who wait
Delayed gratification is an important tool for teaching the value of money. In simple terms: avoid buying your child everything they want, when they want it.
Are they desperate for a new school bag and shoes? Considering buying them the school bag, then work with them to ‘save’ for the shoes. Put a money jar in the kitchen, and match their pocket money until they can get the ultimate reward – those shiny new shoes.
2. Decisions, decisions
Managing money involves some tough decisions. So invite your child to make them with you. Tell them they have $20 to spend at the store. They can get, say, four little things worth $5 each or one big thing worth $20.
Alternatively, if they want an after-school snack, why not pose the option to save that money for pizza later in the week? This will help to paint an effective picture of budgeting.
3. Save for a rainy day
At some point, kids need to learn that money doesn’t grow on trees (or in mum and dad’s wallet). Are they eyeing off a new skateboard? Encourage them to do chores around the house to save up the money for it. This will help them appreciate money – and the need to work hard for it.
Important: try to reflect a positive attitude towards work, even if you’ve had a shocker of a day at the office. Kids are always listening.
4. Tell it like it is (within reason)
Straight-up honesty is a powerful thing. As parents, it can be tempting to tell a fib or take the easy way out.
If your little one wants a treat, don’t brush them off with, “I don’t have any cash on me.” Instead, be straightforward and tell them that they don’t need a treat today.
But while transparency is important, don’t overshare: financial hardship, debt, tight weeks and stress needn’t be put on your child’s shoulders.
5. Master the art of self-control
Ah, self-control. One of the biggest challenges of adulthood. Your little one will learn a lot from you – so always show restraint around them.
Being flippant with large purchases or buying that expensive item with a casual tap of the credit card can send bad messages to your kids (and potentially lead to them misusing credit cards later on in life).
Help your little one master self-control at a young age, and they’ll be primed for a healthier relationship with money down the track.