Parents are the greatest role models for kids. Unfortunately, bad habits can be copied just as much as good behaviour and this also applies to money.
Are you always in debt, unable to budget, have an out-of-control shopping habit, too free and easy with your dollars? Think carefully about your attitude to money and how that might be picked up by your kids. Here are some ways to set a good example:
If you are in a financial mess, the most positive thing you can do, no matter how small or large your income, is to take responsibility for your money, allocate it via a budget and work towards taking control of your finance rather than the other way around.
Involving your children in some of the process will be invaluable in teaching them that bad money habits can be turned around with determination. A small reward, such as a family outing, when a goal is reached can be the icing on the cake.
What lessons did you learn from your parents?
Be a sensible shopper
Shopping with kids can be a nightmare, but don?t let the stress of it overwhelm you and force you into making rash and irresponsible purchases. The kids may pick up on this, and if they?re particularly devious, they might use their power over your emotions to make you buy them what they want! Try to keep a clear head and remember to demonstrate the benefits of price comparing as you shop around for the best deal. Also, involve kids in the collection of receipts to show them how to take advantage of any special offers or coupons. They might even enjoy themselves, and you?ll be amazed to find them following your good shopping habits as they grow up.
Save, save save!
Own your own large piggy bank and let kids see it. When you finally break it open, you could buy an impressive gift for yourself and show it off to your kids. That way they will understand the benefits of delayed gratification.
You could also have some sort of family emergency fund jar, to teach kids that it is always safe to have money aside for desperate situations.
Be safe with your money
Keep your money and valuables in safe and secure places. Don?t leave cash or expensive jewellery strewn about the house everywhere for the kids to see. They need to understand that money is something to take care of and not be reckless with.
It?s okay to gamble for fun on occasion, but don?t overdo it. Explain to kids the extremely rare odds of winning when they see you buying a lottery ticket or scratchie. Also, don?t put too much emotion into it when you win or lose. They need to know that gambling shouldn?t be something to take too seriously and that it?s just for occasional fun.
Gambling addiction can be a serious problem and kids as young as 12 are getting sucked into it. According to Kidbet, the Victorian government?s youth gambling awareness campaign, there are some worrying facts to behold:
- Kids can be exposed to over 2 hours of gambling advertising a week
- On average, there is one teenager with a gambling problem in each classroom
- One in five adults with gambling problems started before they were 18
Be sure to discuss gambling addiction with your children and if you need any more information or advice you can call the Gambler’s Help Youthline on 1800 262 376.
Money: What kids want
Watch your mouth
Kids hear what you say a lot more than you sometimes think, so be careful when talking money around them because, depending on how you talk, they may develop unhealthy psychological associations with it.
For example, don?t argue with a spouse about finances in front of your kids or complain to them about your low salary because it could lead them to associate money with fear and shame.
Also, if you?re telling your kids how to be careful with money, make sure you do the same! Be careful not to contradict yourself.