Kids are fearless about fairness. Nothing emboldens a child more than the opportunity to point out, “That’s not fair.” Take a moment to listen to these kids react when an adult starts redistributing Halloween candy.
When kids get Halloween candy they “own” it and want to make their own decisions. Tough choices such as, “Eat the candy corn or the lollipop?” are important for a kid. Being able to make choices helps a kid develop confidence in their ability to do so.
After eating all the candy corn, the child may decide that a lollipop might have hit the spot instead.
When a kid is told to eat candy corn, they may obey but they weren’t part of the decision-making process. The same is true for sharing or giving to others. If someone takes their candy they don’t like it. If someone tells them they have to give their candy away, they don’t like that either. However, if the child comes up with the idea, they have ownership and pride in the result.
How does this apply to kids and money?
So it is with money. Kids like to “own” their money just like they enjoy owing their candy.
Ownership Children want to have the power to control money just like they see adults doing. “This is my money.”
Responsibility Children can accept responsibility for some of their own expenses. “I have to pay my phone bill this week and remember that my school activity fees are due next week.”
Decision-making Children can make choices when they can see the end result. “If I don’t buy that CD today I will have enough next week to buy that jacket I want.”
Parents can help children understand that each money decision affects their total money resource. Kids need to see that there is a bottom line. By setting up a system as explained in my book, The No-Cash Allowance, your kids will learn that managing money is all about making decisions. This is one of the best lessons that your children can learn before they leave home and outgrow trick-or-treat fun.