We are told since we were kids that saving money is important. There is no doubt about that. The habit of saving is one of the most important and crucial habits a parent can teach a child. By teaching your kid how to save early on in your kid’s life, you are establishing a pattern of personal discipline and financial stewardship that will enable your child to build solid foundations of financial comfort.
In fact, the discipline your child develops when it comes to money management can translate to discipline in other areas of your child’s adult life like avoiding drinking, avoiding smoking, knowing when to say certain things and when to hold one’s tongue, among many other useful habits. It all should start with a saving habit.
Unfortunately, many parents get so eager about teaching their kids the habits of saving that they turn saving into a miserable act. Instead of a fun exercise, saving becomes an exercise in pain or self-deprivation. This is sad and actually very dangerous for your child. Why?
Instead of associating the act of saving with something positive, your kid will view it as something negative. Your child will view saving as something he or she ‘needs to get out of the way.’ Sadly, this can only go for so long until your kid rebels in adulthood and instead of saving actually starts splurging.
Instead of helping your child become a responsible adult, your child unleashes bad impulses that end up buying your adult child in debt. Is this something you want to see happen? If not, you have to know the difference between miserable and fun savings habits.
Making saving fun
Human beings are simple – we hate pain, we love pleasure. So if you want to make the habit of saving fun for your child, you should use a reward system. When your child puts away money for a rainy day, give him or her a treat or reward. The more your kid puts away, the better the reward.
Instead of something to be feared, your child will start looking at saving as something he or she is rewarded for. Pair the reward with kind and encouraging words. Of course, you also have to nip the negative habit of self-deprivation for savings’ sake in the bud. If you see your kid starve him or herself just to save lunch money, discourage this by not offering a reward. Again, you should focus on positive savings habits not negative ones.