As the parents amongst you probably know, being a mummy can be incredibly expensive and it can often be difficult to find the fine line between making your little ones happy and ensuring they have everything they need, and making sure that you stay within your financial limits.
Teaching your children to understand the value of money from an early age can help to take the pressure off slightly, as well as setting them up to have good financial habits when they get older. After all, saying ‘no’ to your little ones can be much easier if they understand that there is a good reason for you denying your request rather than thinking you are simply going out of your way to be a mean mummy (and no one wants that!).
When to start…
Trying to embed an understanding of the value of money into your child when they’re barely able to walk might seem like something of a pointless exercise, but the earlier you start the better. According to Experian, research has shown that, by the age of seven, children have already developed their attitudes and values towards money, so there really is no time like the present.
And, when you think about it, children these days are introduced to costly elements of the adult world at a much earlier age than ever before - many children get their first mobile phone at the age of eight, and start online shopping when they’re just ten. This means it’s vital that you instill a good understanding of the value of money before they get hold of too much of your hard earned cash!
Make it fun!
Of course, no one’s saying that you should sit your three-year-old down and give them a lengthy lecture about economics and financial responsibility. There are so many fun and engaging ways that you can teach your children the value of money, whatever their age, without them even realising what you’re up to!
For example, as soon as your child can count, make sure you introduce them to the concept of money, whether that’s by playing shop or by using money as a counting tool.
You should also take your children shopping with you (no matter how stressful that may sound!), as this will allow them to become familiar with spending situations. If they ask for something that you can’t afford, make sure you explain to them why you can’t afford it and how you would go about saving up for it if it was something that you really wanted or needed.
Pocket moneyIf your little one is lucky enough to receive pocket money on a weekly or monthly basis, this offers another great opportunity to teach them some important financial lessons. In the real world, us adults don’t get to spend all (or any!) of our income on treats and things that we want, but don’t really need. So why not introduce this concept to your little one as early as possible? Rather than allowing them to blow their entire allowance on the latest craze, encourage them to spend one third, save one third for a future purchase, and donate the final third to charity.