I will start this blog post by saying that my son, Noah, really blows my mind every single day. I consider myself a crafty gal and one day Noah and I were out and we stopped at Hobby Lobby for some scrapbooking paper. We were in the aisle browsing and there was also another mom and her daughter who was clearly about the same age as Noah. This little girl was in hysterics; you know how kids do sometimes when things do not go their way? Well, Noah was starring at her and I really thought nothing of it. Until–this little girl was so upset that she was taking a large inhale during her hyperventilating and during the mere moment of silence, Noah says (LOUDLY), “Now, she is not being kind; she will not be getting a treat.” Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. This girl’s mother looked at me like I was chasing her with an ax. She was embarrassed and so was I. However, I was proud, too. After I backed our cart slowly out of the aisle because my face was so red I could hardly stand it, I explained to Noah that he had been right. He was 100% right. He does not throw fits in stores because he wants things. He understands that “things” and toys cost money and if he doesn’t bring his money, well, he isn’t getting it. How have we raised a child like Noah who does not throw these fits? Well, it is a commitment and I’d be happy to share with you what worked for us:
1) Implement a chore chart at home. Make it very simple. As I mentioned in a previous post, Noah actually is to the point where he enjoys sorting and putting the silverware away from the dishwasher. He also will “help” dust and shake out the rugs. Why? Because he knows he earns $1 and he knows that he gets to choose where to put his dollar when he is done.
2) Make three banks. You can use peanut butter jars, baby food jars, or really anything. The important thing is to have them labeled and make sure your child knows the difference between each bank. You can use labels, stickers, or tags to differentiate between the three. For Noah, we use the kit Dave Ramsey has designed for children to learn lessons about money. He has a complete set of materials for teaching financial concepts to children, beginning as young as three years of age. Noah has the Junior’s Adventure Bank. This bank has three compartments; one for saving, one for spending, and one for giving. Noah loves being able to decide where his money goes. And I will say, when he chooses give, it melts my heart and I get chocked up every single time. You can purchase these banks HERE!
3) Talk to your child about what they are saving money for. Help them understand that the items they save for can cost more than the “smaller” items that they buy at Dollar Tree. Saving money is a spectacular lesson to teach your child.
4) Every time you go to the store, ask your child if they want to bring their spend jar just in case there is anything that they are interested in buying. Noah enjoys the freedom of making the choice to spend his money.
5) The give jar has been great. There is nothing in this work more rewarding to a mommy than to watch my little 3 year old empty his give jar into the gift basket at church or bring the money and give it to the SPCA. However, the one “giving” experience that I remember so well with Noah was when we went to the store and used his give money to buy some diapers. Then, we drove across town to a local pregnancy care center and Noah completely understood that he had bought the diapers with his give money to GIVE to the babies that needed them. It is critical that we raise giving and kind children that know about money. I feel lessons about money are just as crucial as potty training them before they are 17.
It is imperative that we not just buy our children everything they want. This is setting them up for financial failure later on in life. I would love to hear about YOUR experience with implementing these money management strategies in your home. How did your children react the first time you told them NO at the store? They don’t easily take NO for an answer? Try explaining to them, “My money is for food today.” It will be an adjustment, but a critical one. A few times in and out of the store with them screaming their head off because they want the newest La La Loopsy doll will be well worth the seed you are planting. I’d love to hear stories.