Teaching children a positive money mindset early in life is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.
In so many ways our childhood shapes us. As we grow, we mirror many of our parents’ behaviours in a watch-learn-repeat type of process. It goes without saying then, when it comes to a parent’s relationship with money, this will have an impact on how their children view it too.
What messages are you giving?
It’s important to pass on positive messages to our children about everything, including money. In order to do this, it’s our responsibility to clear any money blocks, so we don’t unconsciously and innocently offload them onto our children.
Do any of these statements sound familiar as things your parents might have said to you?
- Money doesn’t grow on trees
- Money is dirty
- Money is for the rich, not for us
- You’ll never ‘make it’ if you plan to follow that career (i.e. it doesn’t make money).
The path to enlightening your children
As parents, we’re in a privileged position to teach our children how to have positive and healthy attitudes that enlighten them about money.
Something I love to do with clients with young children, is teach them that their children can do small tasks around the house they get paid for. Doing this right out the gate installs an attitude of appreciation for the things they have and for making money.
The kinds of tasks we’re talking about here are…
- Taking care of their bedroom
- Tidying away their toys
- Laying the table for dinner
- Feeding the family pet
These are small things that make a big difference with growing their independence and money-making mindset. As your children get older, you can up the level of responsibility and in turn the amount of money they get paid.
Another very important thing I tell clients is that boys and girls need to be paid exactly the same amount. I hear it countless times that growing up brothers got more pocket money simply because they were a boy! So, I implore you, do not promote a gender pay gap in your children from a young age!
Make managing money fun!
All children are taught math in school, so they’re more than capable of doing simple adding and subtraction.
Give your child a little book and have them decorate the cover so it becomes something that feels special and personal to them. In their book, get them to record all of the money they make doing jobs around the house and any allowance/pocket money you give them. Have them keep a running total so they can see their money growing.
Also, set them up a bank account and make taking a trip to the bank to deposit their cash a fun and exciting outing. You’ll be surprised just how proud and grownup your little person feels paying money they’ve earned into their very own account.
Buying the extras they want
Of course, we all love to buy our kids things they want, but let’s be honest, the wanting can sometimes be never-ending! So, for those times outside of birthdays, Christmas and special occasions, when they want a new toy for instance, have them make a plan for buying it. Then take their book and money (or card if they’re old enough) with them to make their purchase.
Children need to learn that life is not about instant gratification! When we want something we can wait and work towards getting it. If what they want is out of their current reach, help them think of different ways to make more money and achieve their goal.
So many Mums teach their children that we’re here to serve them instead of all working together. We make a rod for our own backs and in reality are not serving our children with this behaviour at all. One of the most important gifts we can give is an understanding of how to be independent and how to work as a team. These skills are invaluable for when they step out into the world and want to set and achieve goals in their lives.
Learning to budget at an early age
How many of us had a weekly allowance? And how many of us do the same with our kids. Every week, there is a drip feed of money coming to them to spend or save as they wish.
Is that how your money comes to you? Or does it come once a month and you need to budget to make sure you don’t run out of month before you run out of money.
Giving your children an allowance once a month instead of once a week and then showing them how to make a budget (another great use for their money notebook) will give them a skill for an abundant life.
Show them how to divide their money by, for example:
- Money each week for drinks and snacks at school
- Savings for that special item they really want
- Building up savings for holiday spending money
- Gifts and presents they need to buy for friends and family
- Spending money for an upcoming school trip
It does mean you need to hold them to that budget too, of course. If they spend the whole month’s allowance in one week, don’t bail them out. If you do all they learn is how to spend beyond their means and hope to be rescued.
Close the bank of mum and dad!
Closing the doors to the bank of mum and dad is an empowering and necessary move for all concerned!
This is especially important once children are fully grown and have started regularly working. At this point, if they’re still living at home, ask them to contribute to rent or food (or both). You’re not being mean! What you’re actually doing is preparing them for flying the nest and standing on their own two feet.
This is especially important for girls. We need to teach them to be financially independent and learn not to rely on anyone to rescue them. It’s crucial to teach our girls to be confident around money.
Do you think you might have some unconscious money blocks that are sending out a less than positive message to your children? My FREE Money Quiz is the perfect starting point for unearthing what those blocks might be. Take the quiz now and book a free follow up call with me, and we can explore any blocks together.