Huzzah! The Christmas season is finally over, and DAAAAYUUMMM am I glad. Now that we’ve finally dug ourselves out from the avalanche of new Frozen items, it is nice to sit back and reflect a little about this Christmas season. Along with spending quality family time with our kids, we also tried to use this holiday season as an opportunity to teach our girls a few things that we think are important about money. Here are a few of the things that we actively tried to teach our kids this holiday season.
The Importance of Giving
There is something about being a parent that makes me want to be a better person than the cold-hearted miser that I am. I certainly try to set a good example for my girls, and I want them to grow into kind, caring adults. It comes pretty naturally to them, but it doesn’t hurt to remind them of how fortunate we are and that not everybody is as lucky. We want them to know the importance of lending their friends and neighbors a hand when they need it, so we made sure to bring them along when we went shopping for our local food pantry. The kids enjoyed finding things that they thought others may enjoy eating, and it was a chance to teach them that doing small things can make a big difference for others.
Saving for a Goal
A few weeks ago, Holly brought our 5-year-old to
Satan’s Lair our local Walmart. While shopping for some milk, our daughter spied a couple of things that she really wanted – a craft organizer and a new booster seat for the car. It was a super proud moment for mommy, seeing her little angel succumb to the OCD that surely runs through her veins. Yet, rather than buying those things for her, Holly suggested that she save some of her Christmas money to buy whatever she wanted. So, when she received several gift cards, our daughter was uber excited. “Do I have enough to get those things Daddy?” she beamed. I assured her that she did, and we went out and let her pay for her craft organizer and new booster seat all by herself – smiling from ear to ear.
Spending Decisions have Consequences
While we were at the store picking up her new items, our daughter did find a few other things that she thought she might like. Holly and I explained to her that we didn’t care what she got (please get the organizer, please get the organizer, please get the organizer) but that if she bought a new puzzle, she wouldn’t have enough for the craft organizer. Only she could decide what she really wanted. She decided to spend her money on the things she really wanted (Booya!) and skip the impulse buy. After paying for the organizer and booster, she asked, “Do I still have enough money to put some in my college fund?” Now, that’s my girl!
In preparation for the deluge of Frozen toys, we decided to clear some space in the kids area of the house. And thus, the great toy purge of 2014 began. Our kids are relatively used to this, as we usually purge their things about twice a year. Not only was this a good opportunity to teach the kids that they can’t keep everything, it also turned into another opportunity to teach them about giving. Although we threw some of the old stuff out – like those freakin’ Happy Meal P.O.S.es that kept puncturing the bottom of my feet – we did put together two trash bags full of toys to give to the local thrift store. The kids helped us decide what to get rid of, and they also helped us give their old toys away. So, now the house is clean, our kids learned something about giving, AND somebody else will get to enjoy the old toys. Triple Win!!!
Although they may not have realized that we were trying to teach them about money, hopefully our children will remember the lessons learned this Christmas for the rest of their lives. How about you? Did you use the holiday season to teach your kids about anything this year? Let us know in the comments below!