Tips for consumer apprentices
Before the age of 21, children are exposed to more than a million ads! From a very young age, they are the targets of marketing strategists to develop their tastes and preferences for certain products. When you visit grocery stores, the colorful characters in the boxes of sweet cereals smile at the children, looking them straight in the eye. During car rides, young children quickly learn the meaning of certain logos and they are able, with gestures or words, to express their preference for the fast food chain where they wish to eat. When they use tablets or other similar devices, children are exposed to many advertisements, which, interestingly, are not subject to the same rules as those presented on television. In our society, children quickly become consumer apprentices, whether we like it or not, and learn to be fine negotiators to obtain the objects they want. This can sometimes be a headache for parents. In this consumer world, children's financial education is important. One of the first basic concepts to teach children is to help them learn their finance skills. Helping children understand what they are spending on an object or activity they want to do is important. Here are three great tips to get kids between the ages of 4 and 12 to handle money and better understand the reasons for saving.
- The box for the holidays:
Spring is finally here and it's almost time to plan for the summer vacation. Why not involve the children? Once the destination has been chosen, sit down as a family with old magazines or images that you have previously printed. To do this, you will also need a cardboard box (about the size of a shoe box), stick glue and scissors. During your family council, you can discuss the upcoming holidays and invite the children to decorate your holiday box and determine a wish to fulfill. Wishes can vary widely from family to family and from vacation to vacation. We can collect money to eat an ice cream with the family, go to a special restaurant or watch a show. It will also be an opportunity to discuss the costs you will have to pay so that the family has the privilege of doing activities. The purpose of the vacation box is to invite the whole family to contribute and deposit small amounts of money over the weeks. Children will see the amount add up and you will be able to discuss the goals to achieve the wishes. This is a great way to mobilize the family towards a common goal and to invite children to participate, even if it is minimal, depending on their age. Some will choose to deposit in the box for the holidays the few remaining pennies following an expedition to the candy store with grandma and others will want to offer their service to the neighbors to collect small amounts of money. .
The magic pots:
The magic jars trick is a strategy that has been popularized by Gail Vax-Oxlade, to allow children to see the choices they can make with their money. The author recommends giving a weekly allowance (within your means), so that the child can handle the money. To implement this trick, you will need three pots (the magic pots). Search your recycling bin and choose three that you can ask your child to decorate. Then identify each pot. The first will be the pot where the child will choose to put the money they want to save. It is interesting that the parent adds interests when the child chooses this option. Depending on your budget, you establish the amount that you as parents can add to it. For example, for every dollar the child deposits there, you can deposit 25 cents. The second pot will be that of expenses. It is in this jar that the child deposits the money he wishes to keep for his small expenses, such as the purchase of a small treat. Remember to remind them to bring small amounts of money when you go to places where your child will usually ask you for cash for a purchase. For example, if your child is in the habit of asking you for a slip after their hockey game at the arena, remind them to bring their money and they can make their own purchase. The third pot is that of donations, yes you read correctly, donations or even gifts. This jar is for the money you save for gifts. This is another value that we can instill in children with the use of the magic pot trick. It can be rewarding for your child, who wants to give a little gift to his brother or sister, to go and dip into his donation jar and go to make the purchase himself. A beautiful exercise in autonomy that will create pride in your child. For the magic to work, it’s good to accompany your child when they receive their allowance. In this way, you create great opportunities to discuss the use of money, the importance of saving and to clearly identify your needs and wants.
- The 26 weeks pot:
This is a challenge for children who have a specific goal in mind or a dream object that they covet. To carry out this tip, you will need a jar (Masson type) on which you will ask your child to write 26 weeks (you can use Sharpie style pencils). You can choose 26 weeks or another schedule. Depending on your child's goal, you can help them choose the timetable or recommend one to make the exercise realistic. Over the weeks, your child accumulates money in order to achieve his goal. It can be interesting to stick a photo of the desired object or the desired experience on the lid of the Masson jar as a motivation. In this way, when the child has an invitation to go to the convenience store to buy candy and he arrives to rummage in his jar, the image on the lid will remind him of his savings goal. He can therefore make his own decision, but will sometimes need your support. Sometimes when this trick is used with children along the way, the goal changes or disappears, and sometimes parents decide to offer to open a savings account to deposit the money. Here are some tips to guide your consumer apprentices in their savings learning. These tips can also help them learn to make good decisions about their money. In addition, these strategies can help you teach children the difference between wants and needs. One of your goals should be to train your apprentice consumers to become informed consumers in a world where they are bombarded with advertisements. Reference: Vaz-Oxlade, V. (20011). Money-smart kids: teach your children financial confidence.
Harper Collins Canada.