Teaching children to think beyond today, sometimes even beyond the “now,” is pretty tough, especially if your children are still young. However, preparing your kids for the future is something all parents must do, even though nearly everything in society promotes instant gratification. If you want your kids to grow up to be great savers who are responsible with their money, check out these six ideas you can use to help teach and motivate your kids to save for their futures.
One of the best ways to demonstrate your belief in your child’s saving for the future is to match everything he saves. It is an impressive thing for kids to double anything they own, especially money. You are setting an example, motivating him to save and adding to his bank account. You can always set up a finance spreadsheet or budget plan for your child at places like MSN MoneyCentral.
Selling and Saving
Anything your child no longer needs or uses can be sold in a garage sale or online. If the proceeds are divided between savings and spending, he will be content to do this often. Even better, you can encourage him to give something away, as well. Donating to a worthy cause, a local Goodwill or a needy family will increase his awareness that he has more than he needs and can help others with whatever he has — all that and some money in the bank.
One of the reasons kids do not like to save is that they do not see any short-term benefits or rewards from their efforts. Help your child practice this life skill by allowing him to buy something he really wants with his own money, but only after he has saved the required amount over time. This process will help him learn patience and payoff as he works slowly but consistently toward a goal.
Do As I Say
Let your child know that you, too, are saving for his future. Every time you set money or assets aside in any way for his college fund or whatever else, let him see it. Though he does not necessarily need to see the amounts, he will be inspired to keep going because you are setting the positive example. Not only is being an example, crucial, but in creating an environment of teamwork.
Let It Be Known
Once a child begins saving, he can increase his savings dramatically by letting his family members (such as aunts and uncles, grandparents and godparents) know that he would appreciate contributions to his savings for birthdays, holidays and other special occasions. Of course these donations can certainly be combined with some actual gifts.
By the Numbers
Do something visual to mark your child’s saving progress. A bank book will work, but a colorful chart or graph might be more meaningful and motivational, especially for a younger child. Not only does this help with savings, but will help your child prepare for managing a custom photo checkbook one day, as well.
However you choose to do it, helping your kids save for their own futures will teach them valuable life lessons in patience, economics and accomplishing goals. Like with anything you’ll teach your children, it’s important to start early and be consistent. Also, it’s important to lead by example. If you exemplify the importance of saving in your own money managing skills, your kids are more likely to form these habits themselves.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their kids to be savers.