Money and Love vs Love of Money: Kids 101

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woman's hands folded on top of tiny plant growing through a pile of coins exhibiting care for money

Teaching children the value of money may be one of the daunting experiences that all parents face as this lesson may reflect the behavior of the parent themselves. For those that manage their funds well and live in abundance, this activity may be a simple exercise in the power of example; but, for those that struggle to make ends meet, this lesson will require some serious creativity.

Teaching kids about money is one of the best educational foundations parents can provide.

Trips to the bank, the grocery store, or the bank machine can be a perfect opening for a discussion with kids about how you access, save and use money. When children are very young, you can work money concepts into your child’s imaginary games, like playing pretend store or restaurant. As they grow older, a real life experience like opening and managing a bank account is critical so to teach respect and value for money.

When working with children, remember to teach them that money is a tool used in life as a means to love self and others; not an object of love. For example, creating ways to earn money is advised by many professionals. With young children an allowance in exchange for little chores teaches a good work ethic and offers them a new experience of independent thinking. How that child saves and spends his/her money shows character and responsibility.

Research shows that most habits around money are set by age 9, so it’s key to start teaching early. The best time to start teaching your kids about money is the age they begin to count which usually arrives around age 3 to 4 years.

Parents can begin with toddlers by setting up a pretend store that uses coins, cards and paper money offering them the experience of consideration. ie. They learn fast that one coin and be traded for one toy. By making them take breaks in the game, teaches them to save money for a later time.

As the child gets older, real money can be introduced at a real store using the same methodology that the game previously held.

Letting kids spend some of their money is an opportunity to teach the value of savings and delayed gratification. Allowing children to spend ‘all’ the money they have at one moment leaving themselves without will teach them the value of savings.

Teaching children that money can grow is an essential tool once they have reached the age of owning their own bank account. Allow the child to make deposits and teach them to let the money stay inside the bank for a period of time long enough to have earned interest. This exercise may also assist in teaching them that spending all the money they receive at one time is not advisable.

Children Watch Everything

The ways you discuss and handle money when you’re around them is critical. For example, if you complain about having to spend too much on certain things and then take your kids on a shopping spree, you’re sending mixed messages.

A new survey carried out by Halifax found that nearly nine in 10 children aged between eight and 15 believe their parents worry about money. Worse, more than half (58%) worry about money themselves. If children are this aware of adults’ financial behavior, then that’s another good reason to take control of your money.

There is a difference between respecting money and loving money; and managing money within our own means can help find balance.

Balance is Key

Finding a balance in your life is going to be the key to being truly happy. There is an old term that says, “Love doesn’t pay the bills.” This is true for the most part and you do need to think about trying to make enough money so that you can live comfortably.

Regardless, it isn’t healthy to pursue financial success at the expense of your own happiness or that of those you love must be taught at a young age. Teaching children the value of self love is as important as teaching them to value money.

Money Can’t Buy Love

You should always try to remember that the old adage of “money can’t buy love” is actually quite true. Teaching children that people might wind up flocking to them if they become rich, but it might not always be because they truly are loved.

Children must understand that money isn’t something that is going to be able to truly comfort them when they’re feeling down. It might not be as satisfying without someone to share your life with. Humans are social creatures by nature and they desire love.

It’s normal to want to be loved but you can’t get the love that you’re seeking simply by making a bunch of money. History has shown that many people that have hoarded money grew to become misers that actually became lonely people, as they never learned to share.

Financial success is admirable, and it’s even very important to try to be financially secure; yet, it’s just as crucial to be able to differentiate between ‘value of money’ and ‘love of money’. This lesson needs to become one of the initial teachings all children learn at a truly early age.

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