Written by: Jen Block
“Mommy, I want that American girl doll!” “Daddy, I want a Wii!” You both look at each other and wonder how to continue this conversation?
In order to get children to understand and appreciate the value of a dollar, parents need to make sure their children are working for the money they receive. This can be raking leaves, shoveling the driveway, folding the laundry, having a lemonade stand or babysitting a neighbor.
This promotes responsibility and accountability. Make sure that you sit down with your children and discuss what earning their allowance entails. As another year passes, make sure that you increase the amount of money in addition to their responsibilities. This will help reinforce the value of a dollar. They have to earn it — as it doesn’t grow on trees!
Here are a few tips to follow:
- Start young. Children are sponges at a young age and so eager to learn.
- Relay the message that money is meant to be enjoyed. After you save enough, then you can reward yourself with something special. However, stress how to always be saving some pennies for a “rainy-day” emergency.
- Explain how a credit card works — it needs to be paid back or it costs money to use it. It can be a useful tool for emergencies, but it should not be abused. Explain how paying back affects credit. Use an example of the family car breaking down.
- Reiterate the message that establishing good credit at a young age will help build their future for a purchase on a car or home.
Once you’ve had this conversation, have the kids check their piggy banks and see if they have enough money to purchase those toys they requested!
Bio: Jen Block is the Associate Director at Camp Sewataro. She was a camper and Waterfront staff member in the 1980s. She returned to Sewataro in 2007 and now her daughter is sharing in the Sewataro experience.