Wise parents know that you’re teaching your kids even when you’re not teaching your kids.
For example, you don’t begin to teach your daughter to drive the day she receives her temporary driving permit. She’s been learning how to drive, watching you, every time she has ridden in your car for the last 16 years.
Teaching your kids good life skills – particularly managing money – works the same way. Show them how to spend wisely, save, and determine if a product is worth the price.
During the holidays, advertisers are working overtime to influence your kids. Point out ads to teach your children how advertising works and what advertisers hope to achieve. Common Sense Media has some good advice to help you with these conversations.
Help Kids Get Real
Managing expectations is a lifelong money management task you can start addressing early. Introduce the concepts of making choices, setting priorities, and separating wants from needs in clear ways.
If your son’s gift list – for himself, of course – is out of control, suggest a dollar limit so he can be clear about your budget. Then give him play money to the limit you plan to spend to help him “shop” and put his list in priority order.
Redirect his focus by encouraging him to make a list of things he wants to give others. Help him decide how much he can afford by determining an amount for each gift.
Recommend gifts of time rather than money, like reading to a younger sibling.
Model your holiday spending behavior with good examples. Tell your child something like, “I’m choosing not to buy new boots this winter so I can buy Grandma a present instead.”
If your family sends cards, ask your child to sign the cards. Talk about each of the recipients and why they are important to your family. This reminds the kids, and adults, that the holidays are a time of renewed connection and not merely about gift exchange.
Save, Spend, and Share
While gifts are likely to get top billing with your children, teach them the traditions of sharing and charity. You can use the festive world of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" to impart lessons of generosity, kindness, and charity to your children during the holiday season.
Envision your children, much like Ebenezer Scrooge, contemplating their own wishes and desires as Christmas approaches. Each child may have dreams of toys, games, or treats. However, as they delve into the classic tale of "A Christmas Carol," they discover the transformative power of giving to others.
On Christmas morning, instead of solely focusing on their own presents, your children might draw inspiration from the story's message. Encouraged by the spirit of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, they decide to use their resources to make a positive impact on the lives of those less fortunate.
As they engage in acts of charity and kindness, your children will learn that the true joy of the holiday season lies in spreading goodwill and compassion. Reflecting on Scrooge's redemption, they might find fulfillment in creating a festive atmosphere for the entire community, sharing warmth and happiness with those who need it most.
The holidays can offer you many opportunities to teach your children important life skills, like money management, empathy, and self-control. You’ll also help them understand that their worth is not measured by what they own, but by how well they treat others.
Kids Can Start Saving Today!
Want to teach a child in your life the value of saving? Open a Mates Kid’s Club account for them at UnitedOne Credit Union. This savings account is for children ages 11 and younger.
You can book an appointment online to see a Member Service Representative to open a Mates Kid's Club account. To learn more about any of our services, contact us today! You can also call us at 920-684-0361 or 920-451-8222.
UnitedOne Credit Union has branches in Manitowoc and Sheboygan, and is open to everyone living or working in Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Kewaunee and Door counties. The credit union serves consumers and small to mid-sized businesses.
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