Okay parents, it’s time to talk about money
If you are a parent with young kids, you know the drill; your kids think you are a money tree. When you go to the mall and they see a flashy toy – more than likely, your child is going to want it. And if you don’t get it, that’s when crying and temper tantrums magically appear. If you have kids – you know this story all too well. Either you’re going through it now or you’ve been through it.
The reality is no one wants their child to lose their cool in the mall. However, in every unfortunate situation, there’s a bright side to it. Teaching your child the importance of money in their young lives will help them by leaps and bounds when they get older.
“When parents teach their children how to manage money at a young age, you are giving your children the early foundation they need to be fiscally responsible,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“You also empower your child to ask questions and really understand what money can mean to them,” says Schwartz.
Teaching your child the importance of smart money management when they’re young will help them understand the cause and effect relationship with money. You can help your child grasp the concept of money as young as four years old. Just start small and over time your child will get the concept. Here are some tips on starting that money conversation with your child:
You’re not a money tree
If you are the kind of parent who gives their children everything – stop right now! No one has a money tree in their backyard so don’t pretend to be one. Instead, learn how to say no to your child and explain why they cannot get everything they ask for.
Give your child a weekly or monthly allowance for chores. Encourage your child to put their money away in their piggy bank or take them to a bank to open a bank account. Explain to them if they want toys – they’ll have to save for it! Be patient if your kids are young. One day they’ll understand they’ll need more than one dollar to buy their favourite toy!
Follow the leader
Take your child grocery shopping with you and bring cash to the store. While you walk through the store, explain the different prices to your child. If your child picks up a food item you cannot afford, explain to him or her why. Let your child pay at the cash register when you check out.
Giving your child early money lessons is an invaluable tool. You’re helping him or her to be a responsible corporate citizen and ward off the debt trap of, “I see it, I must have it,” mentality. You are not only giving your child the foundation for how to manage money, you’re empowering them to have a healthy relationship with money. If you’re a parent who was never taught about money management and now you’re struggling to manage your debt, you can give one of our trained credit counsellors a call at or go online to complete a free debt analysis.