Money, work, and time are sometimes difficult concepts for kids. Focusing on instruction of these topics form a perspective of how to build appreciation is the way to go!
My friend Cypress told it like this…
The kids and I were waiting at the airport terminal, about to board flight 5265 toward Boston, MA for my cousins wedding.
The Boeing 737 was perched outside the window we were sitting next to. I thought it was an amazing view…
The kids were not impressed. Instead, they were more interested in games on their tablet…
I proceeded to say “wow, what an amazing aircraft that we get to ride on, it’s such a privilege to be able to travel like do.”
“You guys are so blessed with these amazing opportunities!”
Then it hit me…
The reason I was so appreciative of this opportunity is because I had worked HARD to purchase, prepare, and finance this family trip. I was invested…
That made me start to think… should I be talking with my kids about finances, money, work, and time? Should I begin building appreciation of these things now?
Since then, I have made an effort to build appreciation for these things. I can say that I do see a difference in their overall perspective!
Check off critical household, social, and hygiene skills for your child so they’re prepared (not petrified) of growing up!
Start Slow & Keep it Simple
There’s no need for binders, presentations, and hour long lectures. Don’t write them into your lesson plans…
Just talk plainly and at their level of understanding. Be ready to ask questions as they arrive.
Most importantly, look for positive opportunities to teach your financial values. Financial values will begin to build appreciation:
- You’re a the grocery store and your kids ask for something that you don’t want to spend on. Explain to them why it’s not a good financial decision at this time. Don’t just brush them off.
- A generous gift was just given to your family. Write thank you cards, teach gratitude, and instruct on how to take care of that gift. The point it… somebody sacrificed for you to have it.
- Practice turning the lights off, not letting the water run, and setting the thermostat on a responsible temperature. Do your kids know why you do this? Explain it to them.
Talk Values, Not Figures to Build Appreciation
I have decided that my children are already growing up too fast.
And I for sure don’t want them to feel a financial burden before their time. This will come soon enough when they are adults and off in the big world.
Giving too much information at too young an age can be burdensome and counter productive.
They work for $5 to buy a small toy and you tell them that it costs $65 (currently) to fill up the gas tank. Well, that is a mountain they can’t currently climb.
How to Teach Financial Values
- Be honest about how you feel – Are you thankful for your most recent blessing? Have you had a hard work week, but glad you get to work hard to provide for your family?
- Don’t fell like you have to share annual earnings or salaries – Kid’s don’t really need or want to know that information. They will find more value in learning about your budget, savings, or giving.
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I remember my mom talking about saving my money when I was a child. Of course, I liked to spend a lot growing up, but the lesson really did take hold.
I knew it was good to save part of my money; to put it away in a safe place for a necessary expense or for something I really wanted. One of my friends told me a story about her family’s finances growing up like this.
When I was a pre-teen my parents got into some financial troubles. In reality, they were probably in trouble before then, but I wasn’t old enough to really notice before.
I remember thinking, why didn’t you save some money back? In a way… I was learning a very important lesson the hard way.
As a family, we went through some pain when my dad lost his truck, and then his job. But, he continued to do his best to teach us the importance of saving up for hard time.
This stuck with me.
There’s no better way to build appreciation of money than to have some saved and be able to use it in an emergency.
Ready to teach how to save?
- Explain why it’s important.
- Discuss wants vs. needs.
- Designate a spot (piggy bank for younger children/saving account for older children).
- Allow opportunity for them to earn their own money.
- Set some long/short term savings goals.
- Offer some savings incentives. (For example, you may agree to match their savings with a percentage once they reach a certain amount.)
- Create a system for when money comes in. Some to tithe, some to save, some to spend.
Model giving to build appreciation of money, work, and time
As a family core value, giving to others is right at the top. I teach my children that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
Several years ago, we began sponsoring some overseas missionaries. We send a monthly offering that helps with their housing, food, appliances, even kids Christmas presents…
To include the kids in this value of giving, I began teaching them about these precious missionaries. I was honest with them about the money we sent over, and how it comes out of our normal budget.
I believe that as a family, we are blessed to be able to help around the world!
- Begin by teaching that giving is a blessing, and it’s not always easy.
- Then, allow them to be generous to others when they volunteer to do so.
- Lastly, model for them a giving attitude in your own life.
Read: 40+ Ways Moms Can Help Their Kids Earn Money
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Teach that Time is Value
I don’t know about you, but sometimes… time can get away form me.
It was drilled in my head as a child “If something is worth it, you’ll spend time on it.”
So therefore, I model and teach what is of value to me by what I spend my time on.
Kid’s are observant. They see what you spend time on and will naturally equate that to what is valuable to you.
In just 15 minutes a night (while you’re in your pajamas!) take your home (and heart and mind) from stressed out to organized.
For some kids, they may not understand why you spend so much time at work or “working from home.” It may not make sense to them why you’re not spending that time with them.
Explain it to them… time is value and I am working to provide. You can tell them that “it is a privilege to provide for my family.”
Teaching kids the value of time spent is a skill that will serve them for a lifetime.
Great article, Rachel! Thank you! This bit of wisdom resonates with me – it is more blessed to give than to receive. Giving kids an early financial education will certainly pay off in the future.