Is Money and Kids driving you nuts?

Swapna Mirashi

Amidst the many New Year Resolutions you will make for 2017, add this important one;
That of helping children pick up key life skills with money as a teaching aide.
It will ease parenting woes and modern societal pressures AND set your child for success.

The 2 biggest priorities of modern parents can be summed up as – Money and Kids!
More often than not, these two priorities are at loggerheads with each other. As one parent articulates, ‘kids put pressure on money and finances. And money spoils kids.’ That is the cause of parental anxiety amongst modern parents.
So we, the experts in financial literacy for children, thought – can there be a way to get our Honey and Money stay together amiably happily ever after?
We know children can be trained to use money wisely, using real money. And this is what we discovered through study and practice, that money can be used as a tool, a concrete aide to teach children some very important but abstract life skills.
Here is how;

1. Needs and Wants is an important topic in financial literacy for kids. It helps children understand that there are things we absolutely cannot do without. We call these our needs. The rest are our wants – these may be nice to have, but life and living is possible without these.
What that means – know what your needs are and never ignore them. Make money choices on the principle – needs first, wants later. If you don’t get something you want, you are alright even if others try to tell you, you are not.
In the world of plenty, too many wants eclipse the need, often leaving our children with lots of stuff but clueless about their lives.
Learning and practicing ‘Needs vs Wants’ will help our children declutter their minds and discover and focus on what really matters to them.

2. Delayed Gratification – Resisting temptations for immediate reward for a bigger, better or more meaningful reward in future is delaying gratification, self-control or will power. According to research it is the key to success in life.
Children can learn to wait before buying something they want and think if it will still be useful tomorrow, in a month, in a year. These questions, which modern day kids do not ever encounter, help build the self-control mechanism and step out of the self-destructing ‘wanna want want, want now, want more’ trend.
Regular saving in a piggy bank or a bank account, as a practice helps further develop self-control and encourage saving discipline and patience, so lacking in children in fast world.
Remember the ant and grasshopper story?

3. Empathy – Using money to meet all your needs and some wants is an extremely empowering phenomenon. The power further grows when a child finds herself capable of helping others in need. ‘Sharing or giving’, one of the key components in money management is that empowering concept that even a young 9-year-old can experience. This will help her develop yet another human ability – empathy.
For that reason, we love to call money a ‘Superman in my pocket.’

4. Enterprise – What does one do if there is not enough to meet your needs? Complain? Cry? Throw tantrums? Wait for someone else to give you what you need?
Or strive, find solutions and endeavour to meet the need. The latter, popularly known as enterprise, is the key to entrepreneurship, problem solving and resilience, a set of skills crucial to survive and thrive in a dynamic modern world.

Remember the story of Thirsty Crow?

Heads and Tails, a monthly newsletter by Financial Literacy Expert Swapna Mirashi, aims to explore the money and kids equation in parenting, to inform about studies and developments in the field and start a meaningful discussions with parents to chart a way through the cluttered, often confusing and distracting world of today.