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Teaching Children to Share, Save, and Spend

March 1, 2018

Point your kids in the right direction — when they’re old they won’t be lost. Proverbs 22:6 (MSG)

Make “money talk” a priority

If you grew up in a home where your parents didn’t talk about money, it may be difficult to begin the conversation with your own children. But teaching them the basics about budgets, saving, and sharing according to your values will give them a head start and help them avoid common mistakes.

Start early

Even young children can understand simple concepts about money. The sooner they start to become comfortable and confident with handling money, the better. And it is less painful for them to learn from mistakes that involve dollars and cents rather than tens or hundreds of dollars later on.

Resist the marketing blitz

As noted by Hugh O’Neill in The Secrets of the Blue Pig, “There is a powerful buy-me-now energy in our culture. ‘Companies spend a lot of money trying to make us impulsive about buying decisions, and a lot of their ingenuity is aimed at kids,’ says Scot Guldin … There is evidence that some 6-month-old babies can recognize corporate logos and that brand loyalty can begin as early as age 2. ‘Parents have to counterbalance the instant-gratification message by teaching patience and self-control,’ says Guldin.”

Teach them to share, save and spend

Help children divide their money into three categories: share, save and spend. Special banks are available with three compartments for this purpose, but you can easily label jars or containers at home for the same effect. To help kids allocate and budget their money, make sure the cash you give them can easily be divided into single bills and coins.

Have a grateful house

Be intentional about affirming generosity in your home. Draw your children’s attention to acts of kindness you notice in others. Express gratitude to your children when they choose to be generous.

Find a cause to match their interests

Let your children have a say in where they give their money. If they find an organization or cause that is near to their hearts, their giving will have deeper meaning for them. Encourage them to pray about their giving, asking God to open their hearts to the things that He cares about.

Credit to Gary Hoag for sharing some of these ideas with us.

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