How old were you when you began to understand the value of money?
My first memories of money include; my Dad giving us a penny for every dandelion we plucked from the lawn, taking turns sitting on a hot metal folding chair (with my siblings and neighbors) at our very own lemonade stand, and picking rocks at my uncles farm. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of walking along side a flat-bed tossing rocks out of a field, with absolutely no shade, well you haven’t yet lived.
As a kid, a few pennies meant candy or a pack of gum. Things I could have gotten (and sometimes did get) by asking my parents. But it was different buying it with my own money. It was special.
Dan Kadlec, in his blog post, “Kids and Money: How Not to Raise a Spoiled Brat” had this to say about teaching kids the value of money. “I want to make sure my kids understand that success at anything takes genuine effort and that there is no satisfaction greater than earning your keep.” Everyone has there own definition of “genuine effort”. For me, its something I can feel. A peaceful calm that occurs after physical and mental work. Kadlec also talks about how parents struggle to decide how much they should give to their children and how much they should step back and let their children earn things for themselves.
Children learn first by observing everything others do. Getting frustrated with your job? Save the complaining for after the kids have hit the sack. Really want that new “——-” but don’t have the money? Skip it. Or better yet, talk to your kids about how your really wanted “——” and explain how you are saving up for it. Show your children how money works. Then, give them a chance to earn some. Pick jobs that are tough, but on par with your child’s abilities. A good read for parents looking to teach their children about money early is Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey.
Most people, even little ones, want to earn the good things in life.