One of my hopes is to create as many moments with my children as I possibly can. Moments will come in all different shapes and sizes. Some moments are spontaneous, fleeting, or purely for fun. Other moments will be more monumental and even life changing. And still other moments provide opportunities for life lessons to be imparted to our children.
As parents we have a responsibility to train our children to be wise stewards of the finances the Lord blesses them with. Our children will have years of watching how responsible we are with our money, but we can begin as early as the toddler years to train and instill important financial principles they won’t receive simply from watching us in the early years.
When my boys were four, two, and not yet born, I attended a homeschool conference where I discovered what I believe is the greatest tool for training our kids in how to handle their finances. We bought the Dave Ramsey Kid’s Super Pack. Still to this very day, these are my boys very favorite books. We’ve been reading them for almost 5 years now and they have never tired of them. Not only are they entertaining and humorous (particularly the illustrations), but they are feeding fundamental values into the minds of my boys. Yes, they are learning how to be wise with money, but they are also learning character values. What does it mean to have integrity? What does it mean to share our finances with those in need? What does it mean to delay gratification and work hard for something?
The set also includes chore charts, reward stickers, and a parents training guide. In addition, it comes with envelopes designated Give, Save, and Spend. I love to watch the boys dividing up their money among the different envelopes. I love to see them understanding the value of saving and giving. I love to see the hard lessons they’ve learned when they’ve emptied their spend envelope on something they quickly realized was a waste of money and to watch them understanding the time it takes to fill that envelope back up.
On numerous occasions we’ve used the examples and principles in these books to remind the boys of how to make the right choice when opportunities presented themselves. One of their favorites from the collection is Careless at the Carnival. I can’t tell you how many times we have used that book to point them back to the lesson at hand.
This summer we’ve spent a good deal of time in the money training arena. Each week they have had the opportunity to earn an allowance based on chores done around the house (if the chores were done completely with no complaining). Steve has provided “special” jobs where they could earn extra. And they set up a 4 day run of a lemonade stand. While some disagree with providing an allowance based on chores that benefit the entire family, we view it as an opportunity to impart life lessons for how the real world works. We explain that we are not paying them to help around the house. We help each other because we are a family unit and we help each other carry our loads. However, we are willing to pay an allowance in order to teach the lessons of hard work and earning money. There have even been times where chores haven’t been completed satisfactorily, and I’ve deducted money from the allowance explaining that when you are an adult your employer will not pay you for a poorly completed job. We want them to be hard workers, but let’s face it, money is the true motivator for anyone who is working a full-time job. It’s just a necessity of life. So why shouldn’t we allow our children to be motivated by what will ultimately be their motivator while providing them the guidance and training while we can.
Each of the boys has a savings account set up to save for a car one day. Periodically, we will take a trip to the bank with their Save envelopes to make a deposit. The boys have so much fun on these trips because the tellers and the manager make such a fuss with them and really make it a rewarding experience. They patiently count out all the coins and crumpled up bills. I watch their little minds trying to understand how the process works. “Why are we giving them our money? Oh yeah, they keep it safe for us!” Of course, the best part is the sucker at the end. Who knew a bank field trip could be so fun?
Through these experiences they are able to feel the satisfaction of working hard, saving their money, and putting it away for the future. At the same time they are experiencing the joy that comes from sharing their money in the Give envelope. And of course they are loving spending what accumulates in the Spend envelope .
This set really provides such powerful tools to enable parents to train their children wisely in money management. You can also buy the audio CD set or downloads now. I just ordered the audio cd set since we spend a good deal of time in the car, and our boys loving listening to books on CD.
Can you tell I’m a huge fan? And, no, I receive no commissions based on sales generated from this post 🙂