- More is caught than taught with kids.
- Walk the walk by getting your finances in order first.
- Include them in on what you are doing.
- Look for teachable moments to share your experience.
Being a parent, I’m sure you’ve thought about your children from time to time and wanted nothing but the best for them. Having kids is awesome, the hope that we have in them is to have a greater life than we have. We aim to teach our children good morals and hope that they end up better off than we did. We can teach and talk and preach until we are blue in the face, but if we aren’t walking the walk, our kids are still going to pick up our bad habits. This is because more is caught than taught by our kids of today. Whatever we are doing, our kids are right there listening and learning and mimicking what we are doing. So, what can we do this week that can help inspire your children to be more responsible that we are today?
Walk the Walk
We have to actually be the good that we want our children to become. By straightening out your situation first, your children will see this and start to learn from what you are doing. This means that you should be doing three things with your finances, giving some of your money and time, saving some of your money for emergencies and bigger purchases, and spending on things that make life more enjoyable but not materialistic.
We have been out of debt almost the entire time my two daughters have been alive. We are raising them without credit cards and only purchasing things that we can afford. Plus, we continue to save and invest and live on less than we make. By doing this, I am hoping that they will see this as normal and not ever even enter into debt or use it to buy normal everyday purchases. They see us budget each month and work through our finances and have to say no to things all the time. I think they are starting to learn that money is finite and we can’t just do whatever we want.
When you get your finances in order and start to handle them in a way that helps you to build wealth, you are setting up your kids to build those same habits as they grow up and follow in your footsteps.
Let Them In On What You’re Doing
Whether you are tithing at church, putting money away in savings, saving up for a big purchase, or paying monthly bills, involve your kids in the process. Make it a family event. Explain why you are giving to your local church. Explain the importance of delaying gratification. Teach how not to buy something right now. Instead, save up and pay cash so you don’t pay interest. Explain to them to safeguard their earnings because it’s the biggest wealth building tool that you have.
Have them even help write out the monthly utility bills so the can feel the weight of what it takes to run a household. By sharing this information and including them in the process, their world will be opened up and they will start to realize that money is finite and will hopefully respect money in a new way.
Look For Teachable Moments
While going through your day to day lives, look for situations that went well so that you can share the wins with your kids. This experience teaches them to reflect on more moments.
We have had a few times when we’ve had to use our emergency fund for emergencies. Going through these times, it’s hard to stop and say “OK kids, we have a lesson to learn today”. Since we work together as a family unit, we talk through our situations with the kids around.
When we were having to car shop we were spending a lot of time at the car lots. We explained to them that our other car was sick and we were looking for a new one. We were modeling our behavior of shopping around before making a purchase and trying to negotiate a better deal. Being 4 and 2, they saw us exploring this situation. Hopefully, they will think more before making a decision in the future.
The same goes for learning about bad situations. There are always things to learn in every situation. Make sure you are reflecting on these situations and sharing them with your kids.
So, what can I do today to inspire my kids to be more financially responsible?
Think about these 3 things as you go about your day. Start working through these 5 action steps to improve your finances and start walking the walk. Get them involved as you start to take control of your finances by involving them in your everyday activities. And lastly, always be looking for teachable moments that will allow you to explain life to them. Whatever you do, the most important thing is to love them and be there with them.