3 Simple Lessons To Teach Your Children That Life Is
More Than Toys
Commercials, TV, and your kid's friends
all tell your kid, “You need this. If you don't have it,
you won’t be cool.” All parents want their kids to be
happy and popular, but how can we teach our kids that
life isn't about having all the latest cool toys and
clothes when commercials and their friends are telling
them that it is? The world is full of kids who feel
entitled to whatever they want - right now!
It starts out when they are small. At three or four they
are already reaching for candy on the shelves in the
grocery store. As they get older, they insist on a new
toy every time you go to the store. It soon turns into a
new video game and then clothes. By the time they are
sixteen. most kids think they are entitled to a car -
and money for driving it to and from wherever they want
to hang out to be cool.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with making your
children happy. But buying them everything they see
advertised or everything their friends have is sending
the following message: "Everything you want will be
yours. Your don't have to do anything."
This causes major problems.
First, parents can go broke. If you find yourself
struggling to pay the bills while the latest game system
dominates the family room, you have a problem.
Second, parents are raising self entitled kids. These
kids grow up believing that they can have everything.
When they reach adulthood, they have no idea how to
cope. They don't understand that NOW they have to work
to get what they want - and they simply haven't learned
that concept. They look for ways to continue the
lifestyle they grew up in.
Sometimes they stay with their parents for years after
they should be on their own. Other times they move out,
but not knowing how to balance what they "need" and what
they "want", they max out their credit cards and end up
needing a bailout. Occasionally, they are so self
entitled that they resort to stealing. They feel they
are entitled to these things and justify getting them
any way possible. A few get jobs, get their own homes,
and feel like they are slapped in the face when they
realize that they can no longer have all the things they
grew up with. It's a hard road.
By teaching your children the value of earning things,
you will be making his life (and yours) much easier.
It's time to start teaching your child the value of
money. Here are three lessons to start with:
Money doesn't grow on trees.
What your child needs to learn with this lesson is that
everything costs money. People work to earn money. The
money they earn has to pay for everything -including
rent, food, clothes, gas, car payments - and finally
cool toys. If your child is old enough, show them the
family finances. Help them understand the budget. You
can't expect them to understand why you need to say "no"
if they don't understand that before you buy them cool
toys, you need to buy them shelter, food and clothes.
Encourage them to find ways to earn their own money. Let
them know that you want to help them but if they want
something, they need to work to earn it. Or they can
wait for Christmas or their birthday. Better yet, they
could save up their allowance. You could offer to give
them extra chores in order to help them earn the money
Often your child will decide that some things aren't
worth working for. Yep,it was something they absolutely
needed as long as they didn't have to work for it - but,
when it their hard work, they learn that some things
just aren't worth having.
The key to financial success is budgeting
As kids get older, teach them how to budget. One good
way is to give them a clothing budget. Give them a
monthly allowance to spend on clothes. If you decide on
$100 per month, teach them that if they save part of
that money one month, they will be able to buy a more
expensive item next month. This is also a great lesson
for kids who don't seem to care about their clothes.
They soon learn that if they lose the coat that cost
them $100, they will be replacing it.
Teaching your children to budget gives them an important
lesson about budgeting, but it also teaches them that
money is for more than just fun things.
Savings accounts are an easy, safe investment
If your child puts $50 per month in his savings account.
Even if he were to stop putting money in the account
when he left home at age 20, as long as he did not
withdraw any of that money, he could have close to a
million dollars when he reaches retirement age. Interest
rates change. The scenario above assumes a steady 8%
interest. But, the point is: by building an account to
$10,000 and then leaving that account to collect
interest, your child's retirement could be guaranteed.
More than most of us can count on.
There are several good resources on the internet to help
you teach your children about money. Wells Fargo offers
a site called HandsOnBanking to teach people of all ages
about savings. US Bank offers a free children's savings
account with no minimum balance requirements.
Consider introducing children to U.S. savings bonds.
Bonds are still a good value. They cost half their face
value and earning interest that in some instances will
be tax-free if used for a college education. Your child
can purchase a $50 savings bond for $25.
Get your kids interested in saving early. Review their
account with them each year to show them how it grows.
It will serve them well in the years to come.
What we teach our children when they are young can make
their life so much easier than learning the hard way.
Start early. Spend a few minutes each week to explain or
encourage financial values. Praise them when they make
When we spend a little time teaching our children life
lessons, we not only save time, we save money. Your
children can be happy without all the goodies if they
are taught about money. If they grow up not
understanding about budgeting and money management, they
can grow up thinking they can have anything they want
and that line of thinking will have a big negative
impact on their lives.