It is fantastic to know that you can teach your children the value of money when you give 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. Children learn this lesson when you give them a job.
A great way to teach children the value of money is to give them a job 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 things and their parents supply them effortlessly, 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. This is learned 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. These are all good lifelong lessons.
Children don’t know the value of money until we teach them.
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. They don’t know 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?