It is fantastic to know that you can teach your children the value of money by giving them a job. In many families, children think that the word MOM is an acronym for Made of Money. It is easy to understand why they think this. Mom and Dad supply all their needs and many of their wants. Food, clothing, shelter, technological gadgets, toys and all kinds of delights land at their feet with seemingly no effort at all. Children often grow up thinking that being given all they desire is their due. In fact, it is not, children, like adults, need to work for what they receive. One of my favorite ways to describe this is the expression, “Game is sold not told. Fair exchange is not robbery.” In other words, everything has a cost. Paying for things is fair and reasonable.
A great way to teach children the value of money is to give them jobs where they earn money that they can use to buy what they want. When children have to work for the money they spend they learn several valuable lessons. These lessons include the following:
1. Money is finite
2. If you buy one thing, you must sacrifice another
3. Some things are more valuable than others
4. Things worth having are worth waiting for
Children, when things are ideal, do not worry about paying the mortgage, utilities, food and entertainment costs. As parents, it is our job to take care of these things and not burden our children with those worries. As a result, they often think there is some endless supply of money to cover everything the children desire. When children earn money and have to pay for things themselves, their pockets make it very clear that there is no endless supply of cash. A pocket with a small amount of money that must last until more is earned makes it clear in a very real way that money is finite.
Many children ask for more things than they need. They ask because parents are supplying the money. So, if a child wants a book and an action figure and parents supply both, there is no lesson about the place and value of sacrifice. On the other hand, if a child must use her money and she only has enough money for one of those things, she learns about sacrifice. She learns this because she must sacrifice her money to purchase what she wants. She also learns sacrifice when she must sacrifice the desire for both things in order to get one thing. She learns about choices. These are all good lifelong lessons.
Often children ask for a $500 piece of electronics with the same attitude and tone they use to ask for a bag of potato chips. This is because the same request grants them both items. When a child must use her own money to purchase items, she pays attention to the price tags. This exercise shows her that the electronics cost significantly more than a bag of potato chips. When she shops using her own money, a child learns some things have more value than other things.
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Children often do not understand the value of patience, of waiting and earning. When children have to save and wait to get things they want, they learn that some things are worth the wait. This is an important lesson. Life is full of adults who do not understand how to defer enjoyment or how to wait for the time and place for an item, situation or goal. When children must use the money they earn from work they do to get things they learn value. They know how many days or weeks it takes to earn an item and decide for themselves if the item is worth the effort. At the same time, when they have worked hard, earned money and purchased an item, they know what it took to get that item and appreciate it in a new and different way.
It is fantastic to know that you can teach your children the value of money by giving them a job. So, the question for you this fantastic day is what lessons about the value of money would you like to teach your children?
If you would like to read more articles about lessons for children, check out the following.
As with all things, when teaching children that life goes on after failure, be sure to speak at their level. When my twins who are in kindergarten cannot spell a word correctly. I tell them, “It is ok you messed up. Everybody messes up sometimes. Remember when I made that dinner that was really nasty and we had to order pizza? Did I stop cooking? No I made dinner again the next day and remember that chicken was really good?” Five year olds can understand this idea easily. Unfortunately, they also remember that nasty dinner!
In conclusion, if we teach our children it is ok to fail and that even parents fail sometimes and keep going, failure will be seen as a step along the way, instead of the end of the road. So the question for you this serene day is how do you teach your children to deal with failure?
The special lesson for today is one I got from my children’s kindergarten teacher, “be a friend to yourself.” My nine year old son is a fourth grader. When he was in kindergarten his teacher, Mrs. Friedman, at Gladwyne Elementary School, taught the children that they had to show themselves good friendship. Five years later, Mrs. Friedman is the kindergarten teacher for one of my twins and I am thrilled to see she is teaching the children the same lesson.
In order to be a friend to others you must treat yourself as a friend. This is a fact, plain and simple. It is one simple enough for a brand new kindergarten child to learn. Many adults push this lesson out of their minds with the responsibilities and trials of adulthood.
I know it is a crazy expression. It is one of the few things I got from my father, the notion that “one monkey don’t stop no show.” It is a memorable expression and once you say it a time or two you may find it gets stuck in your head. I know whenever my children hear the first part, they immediately chime in with the second. It means, if one thing doesn’t work out the way you want, keep going, it is not the end of the world.