Chiku, a chubby 8-year-old toddler gets away with his demands very easily lest if his demands are not conceded, he would lie down on the floor or shriek so loudly that it might cause embarrassment to his parents. Chiku’s parents, Ashutosh (35) and Smita (32) are a working couple and they have employed a full-time maid to look after Chiku and to do household chores. Since the couple is not able to spend enough time with Chiku, they give in to his demands and spend lavishly on his toys, gifts, etc.
The couple is unable to understand how to eradicate the habit of demanding. Hence, they decided to have a discussion with Ashutosh’s father who explained them, “An 8-year-old kid today is exposed to a lot of information than most of us would have at his age. By succumbing to a child’s demands, parents try to find an easy way out and buy peace at a price. It has been observed that most kids don’t want to walk even a short distance and prefer either an auto-rickshaw or a cab. Why blame them? We as parents are responsible to a large extent for most of the problems related to our kids. Have we ever tried to explain to our kids in a language which they can understand our livelihood? Have we tried to explain to them how the concept of savings and expenses work?”
The couple understood that their approach will spoil their child’s future as he will never understand the importance of money and savings in his life. So, Ashutosh decided to inculcate the habit of saving in his son in a language which he can understand easily.
Here are some ways which Ashutosh and Smita used to get their kid to start saving. They listed down the activities and decided to incorporate them this World Savings Day.
BE A GOOD EXAMPLE
It’s a well-known fact that children often imitate their parents. This makes it vital for you to be their role models and quite literally, practice what you teach. If they see their parents saving money, they also begin to save the money they earn from simple household chores. Parents can create a savings jar or piggy banks where they can put money in while the child is watching. This way the child will see the money grow and understand the idea better, and at the same time observe that saving is a part of everyday life.
NEEDS VS WANTS
Wants and desires are a part of everyone’s, even for a child. Something as simple or innocent as wanting an extra candy can allude to desires. Parents need to efficiently talk to their children to differentiate between needs and wants. They need to explain – how needs will always have a higher financial priority over wants. Make them understand that wants can wait, but needs should be addressed without delay.
Most often, kids find it hard to wait for the things that they want. Such as, if you give your child a candy every time he does something right, we’re sure he can’t wait to gulp it right up. However, explain how it’s going to be better if he saves it for a later time because then he’ll have many more candies in the future. Then relate that to money and savings, and he will slowly grasp the concept. While this is not an easy skill for kids to understand and adopt, parents need to be patient and push them.
MAKE THE LESSONS FUN
Children have a low attention span, so you want to make sure that when you are giving them a lesson on savings, they don’t know it’s a lesson but look at it as a game. It’s very important that you make it fun and engaging. In order to save you need to wait — so that you accumulate enough money to use it later to buy something you want. So when a child learns to wait they are learning the basics of self-regulation. Parents should not wait for an occasion to inculcate the habit of saving otherwise that day may never come or it will be too late for children to listen to the virtues of saving. Values and good habits instilled at an early age will go a long way in ensuring that your kid will be able to manage his financial life when he finally starts earning in the future.
So on October 30th, when you reward your kids with candies and toys, don’t forget to pass on some good savings advice too.