4 Ways Your Kids Can Have A Healthy Relationship With Money

Kids Relationship MoneySome conversations with the kids take more brain power to explain it in an appropriate way.

Not everything is easy breezy beautiful. While my money story is changing daily for my own great working relationship with money, it’s not something I talk to my kids often.

Money and I haven’t had the best relationship in the past. Like many young adults, I went into college with no working knowledge of what to really do. Credit cards were my downfall and my savings was non existent.

The great thing is I have time with my kids to teach them how to treat money with the respect it deserves. I want my kids to love money, not resent it. They will see how to appreciate the ways they can circulate it and invest money with ease.

Laying The Groundwork For a Healthy Relationship with Money

There is still confusion looming with my 10 year old about why she has to be 18 to access the money in her savings account. She’s not so much mad at me but with the laws surrounding minors and money. This led to a great teaching moment to what she can do with the money she does have in her immediate possession.

This she understands and likes how she can do different things with her money. One of my biggest fears is sending my children out in the world not prepared to handle their financials.

It’s one of those things not taught in school so it’s on us, as parents, to be intentional about teaching. My relationship with money was non existent and then it went down hill when I got sucked into the credit card trap more than once. I didn’t have a grasp on having your money work for you through investing. While I saw my mom give to our church weekly, it wasn’t something we discussed. And savings, you spend what you get, right? As a young adult I didn’t appreciate money which didn’t serve me well until I changed my money story.

Conversations With Kids About Money

My ten year old has been asking some very weighted questions about money lately because she has begun to make some through selling her things she has grown out of on eBay. Our arguments are heated because in all honesty, I don’t know what to say.

The thing is I don’t know how to explain it to her and that’s what I’ve told her up front. So my goal is to do research so we can have civilized conversation. She is my guinea pig but in that way it’s a bonding experience because we will be learning together how to have a loving relationship with money even as a tween.

There are still books I want to read to give her an intellectual answer that will satisfy her current disdain for the leagal system reagarding her money.

Give, Save, Keep, and Invest

For now, all she wants is to have control over how her money is allocated. Together we created a modified Dave Ramsey jar method. These four ways can be a game changer for the relationship my children have with money.

  1. 50% Keep (short term) – This is what she wants to do with it. Spend or save a little for something bigger.
  2. 30% Savings account (emergency or big purchase) – I explain this is an emergency fund or for a car when she is of driving age.
  3. 10% Give – She chooses the charities she wants to donate to.
  4. 10% Invest (long term) – We talked about how this is super long term. I explained to her in way she would understand how interests works. This proved to be a little more difficult because I don’t necessarily understand the ins and outs. Telling a 10 year old about compounded interest goes something like this: If you keep putting money into an account now your $20 could grow into $2000 over time. As you keep adding to it, you could have millions by the time you want to retire.

She liked that and her eyes lit up. By separating her money into piles and knowing exactly where it is going gave her ease. She knows that she can now have her money work for her, have some to circulate for things she wants, save some for a bigger purchase and most importantly give it away.

Becoming An Example For Younger Generations

This set up might not be perfect but the thing is it can always be adjusted. As she grows, so will her relationship with money. And now she is starting to set an example for the younger kids. While their capacity to understand might not be there yet, they know the basics from their sister.

There is no way to prevent her or my other kids from having debt or making mistakes in the future. At least now I am able to lay the groundwork for financial understanding instead of when they are knee deep in debt trying to dig their way out.

 

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Teaching Life Skills To My Kids At An Early Age

Teaching Life Skills

We’ve all been there and seen the giant mountain of clothes staring us in the face. It becomes our Everest and we know we must conquer it. Like climbing Everest, this is not something we can or should do on own. We need a support team to help us.

For years I dreaded doing laundry. How could 4 little people plus mom and dad have so many clothes? You know the drill: sort, wash, remember to put clothes in dryer, rewash slightly moldy smelling clothes, sort into piles, fold, put away and repeat.

When my oldest was 5 or 6, she wanted to start helping.

HALLELUJAH!!!

She would help me tackle the piles of clothes strewn across my bedroom floor. As all the kids got older, we would call them in to put away the clothes we folded and they did it, no questions asked.

INTERESTING!

Making Chores Fun

Laundry folding and putting away became a family activity. The more we did it, which is a lot, they began asking to learn how to fold clothes. This is like a mother’s dream come true. Now at 10 ,8, 6 and 5 they are self-sufficient in the art of laundry.

It’s an unspoken rule that if you have a pile of clothes, it must be put away before you get on electronics. Now mind you, they don’t necessarily fold clothes the way I would but that is a moot point.

#1: It’s one less thing for me to do and more importantly

#2: When they leave my house they will have a life long skill of being able to do laundry. Everyone knows how to put detergent in and how to start the dryer. The only issue currently is most of them aren’t tall enough to reach the knobs even with a stool.

Chore Charts Don’t Work

For awhile we did chore charts but there was no incentive to really get it done. Receiving an allowance wasn’t reward enough to do it and they expected it for putting ONE dish away. They would do the chores for a week or two and then get bored. Even without the chore chart there are things that have to be done around the house regardless of whether you get paid or not.

The jobs on their lists are essential to running our house smoothly and less chaotic. Things like putting away clothes, toys, school stuff and dishes are part of working together as a family. As are babysitting younger siblings, making own lunches, and walking the dog.

Yes, my children make their own lunches for school. When you start 1st grade, you are on your own. I will assist but only if they ask. I have seen lunches come out of my house that I would never put together because they get to create meals they enjoy. It always includes a main dish like a sandwich or leftovers from dinner, a veggie, fruit, drink and yogurt/cheese. They know the routine and I know they are getting a well rounded meal.

The more choices they are able to make on their own, the more confident they become with their decisions. This makes our mornings less crazy because everyone is taking care of themselves. They get their own breakfast and make lunch while mom gets a shower and can get ready for the day while dad quietly sits drinking his coffee.

It’s SUBLIME!

There are times when I do have to motivate the kids to get moving but most mornings I am able to take the dog on a short walk while they are getting ready for school. These are life skills I am teaching the kids to prepare them for adulthood.

Teaching Skills For Life

I was an independent kid growing up. Sure, my upbringing was a little different than my kids because I grew up in a single parent home. I was thrown into the trenches and learned a lot of life skills because it was just me and my mom. I knew how to do laundry at a young age mostly because she shrunk my favorite shirt. Never again! On some level I think she did it on purpose. I might have to try that.

I cooked for myself sometimes and could clean up after myself. Among other things these skills set me up to become a responsible, independent adult who could function on my own. When I got to college, I was confident that I could do this thing called life.

In high school and college, I worked odd jobs to pay for things I wanted. I was prepared to head out into the world after college even if I did make some mistakes along the way. Financially, I had some learning to do but I eventually figured it out. Damn you, credit cards!

Let Them Fail

I became okay with my failures, moved on and learned from them. The skills I learned as a child gave me the confidence to know that I didn’t have to call home every time a problem came up. My mom and I have a great relationship because she allowed me to make mistakes without enabling me. For that, I am grateful because I can now do the same for my kids.

As a parent, watching your child fail can be hard to watch in the moment but the long term results give you the satisfaction knowing you did the right thing.

The kids will have a different process to reach an end result but by holding my tongue and not stepping in to fix something that is not broken I am giving them the best gift of all: confidence to fail and learning independence.

We still have 7 years till my first flies the nest so that’s when we are going to learn about managing money, time, be able to make simple home repairs (that’s all dad) and much more. So on that drop off day at college, we can be sure that they’ve got this! Even if they do mess up from time to time.

 

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Why It’s Important To Let My Child Self-Advocate

child self-advocate

Have you ever gotten so involved with your kids’ activities that you live vicariously through them and their disappointments becomes yours? Raises own hand! The kicker is when your eyes see something negative but your kid sees it in a different light, do you respond or react?

This weekend I realized that what I think is important is completely different than what my kid thinks.

The Protective Instincts Came Out

Let me paint a picture. It was raining in sheets, we had family in town to watch my son’s football game and the conditions were less than ideal. After the rain kept coming down, our relatives made the decision to stay through the first half and then head home.

As I was watching, I saw that our son had only been in two plays during the first half. It was my understanding that every player is supposed to play at least 2 quarters a game. The way it was looking, I didn’t think he was going to play much in the second half either. I started tearing up because I was frustrated his coach was not playing him much this game.

My mama bear instincts started to fly and my blood was boiling. The more soaked I got, the madder I became. I couldn’t even enjoy watching because here I was sitting in the rain and my kid was on the sidelines for most of the game.

Even as I write this, I’m getting worked up. After the game, I thought about how I could calmly speak to his coach. I realized I wasn’t going to be able to, so my thought was to wait till the next practice.

The Aha Moment

I put on a happy face for my son after the game but asked him if he knew why he didn’t play that much. He said before the game his coach said he wasn’t going to play much. I don’t know why and neither does he.

As we kept talking, I asked, “Are you okay with not playing too much today?” He said “yeah, it’s fine. I guess I need to work on my blocking and tackles for next time.” I said, “Ok, but you need to speak up if you want to play.”

We came home, took hot showers and had some time to calm down so I could come up with a better discussion to have with his coach. Coming down off my frustration, I asked my son if he even wanted me to talk to his coach on at practice about making sure he plays more at the next game.

He said, No.

That’s when I realized that I cared more about his playing than he did. He has fun at his games, loves going to practice, getting to play when he can and was excited that his grandparents had come to watch him play football with his friends.

He didn’t care how much he play but was happy for the amount he did. In that moment, it hit me that he saw the good in the situation and I was only focused on the negative. The feelings that bothered me about him not playing much were not even on his radar.

The Self-Advocating Child

This became more about me than him. Football is his activity, not mine. This is not about me rescuing him because he didn’t need to be rescued. It became a teaching moment for both of us. I guided him to self-advocate and speak up to his coach if he wants to play more. As a quiet child, this characteristic does not come easily to him.

For me, it was my opportunity to not step in every time I think my kid needs me.  I want to raise independent adults who know how to speak up for themselves. It is not my job to do their dirty work for them but instead prepare and coach them how to look out for number one.

As a parent, I know there will be times that I will need to advocate for my child. But for the most part, these types of situations present an opportunity for them to work at improving skills both on and off the field.

 

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Put your oxygen mask on first.

Self care is essential for all parents to make it through the day.

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