Most parents want to give their child the world. It’s normal, of course, to want the very best for your children. Unfortunately, parents are also responsible for teaching their child the difficult lessons.
For many adults, this means teaching your child the importance of saving money. Giving your child the best possible future also means showing your children what steps they can take to actually start to save money and to reach their financial goals. For children, this could be something as small as buying their own lunch at school or as large as saving for a summer camping trip. No matter how lofty your children’s ambitions may be, there are a number of ways you can start teaching them how to save.
Taking The First Steps
First off, let your child make financial decisions when it is appropriate. If you never give your child the chance to use or spend money, he will never learn how to appropriately handle it. You don’t have to give your child $200 and send him to the store. Rather, give your child $10 when you go out to lunch and let him make his own decisions on what he wants to order and how much he wants to spend. If your child has money left over from his purchase, you can let him keep the cash to add to his savings account.
Next, consider giving your child an allowance so he can earn his own money. How much you give and how frequently is up to you. Additionally, how your child earns is allowance should vary based on his age. For example, you might choose to give your 5-year-old a small allowance each week if he makes his bed every day, brushes his teeth regularly, and keeps his bedroom cleaned up. A teenager might earn an allowance for mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, or keeping the bathroom cleaned.
Setting Clear Goals
It’s also important that you set clear goals with your child so that he knows and understands what he is saving for. Setting specific goals will help your child start to save. Instead of saying “Saving is important,” explain to your child, “We need to save $30 if we want to buy that new toy.” Understanding exactly how much money your child needs to get to reach his goals will help him stay focused and in control.
Another way that parents can help their children learn to save money is to demonstrate good money skills themselves. Children learn frequently through example, so if you tell your child to save money yet you are constantly spending, your little ones will be receiving mixed messages. When there is something you want, consider waiting until you are able to pay cash for the item. That way you can discuss saving with your child and how important it is to stay in control of your money.
Our Final Thought
Finally, no matter how old or young your child may be, remember to let him know that sometimes mistakes are inevitable. Even though you may be trying to save for something, sometimes it takes longer than you had hoped. Sometimes it is more difficult than you anticipated. Sometimes you give up and spend the money on something else. While none of these things are the goal, they do happen occasionally. Remind your child that even if he struggles to save money, he is not a failure. He is human and with practice, he will get better and better at saving money.