Children are smart. Kids grasp concepts and teachings extremely well when being taught on a one-to-one level. Probably most amazing is to see what they pick up even when you aren’t necessarily trying to teach them something. They never stop watching and learning.
A common phrase in parenting is that children remember 20% of what they are taught, 50% of what they see, and 90% of how they felt.
As it relates to money, if we are teaching them excellent give-save-spend HABITS, that’s great. They will remember those principles. However, if they SEE that it’s part of life–that Mom and Dad make it a priority and the whole family is giving first, saving second and spending third–then THAT will make so much more of an impact.
Money should be a FUN, practical, part-of-life subject, not fearful or intimidating. Children will be empowered to do good things with their own money. They will not be afraid of making bad mistakes as they get older. They know when it comes to money, choices are made–things don’t just happen.
How do we do that? Here are some easy-to-apply tips:
- Do not use negative phrases like, “We can’t afford that.”
Kids will wonder what else the family can’t afford like lights, food, clothes, lego sets…
- Instead, use phrases like, “That isn’t in the budget right now.”
That shows them Mom and Dad have a plan and aren’t being wasteful
- Do not argue or yell or fight about money ever, especially in front of the kids!
If they see that, they think that is normal and will either avoid talking about money, or just argue with their future spouses
- Instead, establish monthly family sit-downs to talk about money.
Keep it brief, simple and fun. Hand out prizes to the kids who remember why you do give, save, spend, and understand what a “tithe” is…or any other fun family goal you have.
It doesn’t have to be fancy (I mean, talking on the phone is not fancy, but all of my children can imitate that perfectly), it just has to happen. Be purposeful about how you talk about money, how you handle money, and most importantly how you make your kids feel when money is involved.
Let’s change patterns of the past and diligently make wise choices with our words and our money. Choices we want our kids to make in the future. Because they will.