Under The Magnifying Glass | Quick Tips - Financial Dos and Don’ts
Ever feel like you live your life beneath a magnifying glass? As a parent, your every move and mood is tracked, recorded and scrutinized. Your home is like a fishbowl, and your actions can be viewed from all perspectives. Add stay at home orders to the equation, and in addition to your usual heaping plate of responsibilities, you inherit the pressures of homeschooling, playing tea party with Mr. Snuggles over lunch, making sure the house remains intact, and no days off. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Sips on coffee… Cue Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell
Whether you like it or not, somebody (other than your anxiety prone rescue pup) is watching you: your little human. To exacerbate the issue, your mini’s observation surpasses casual interest. They are studying you. They will emulate you. They now spend more time with you than ever before.
According to Pediatric Institute Publications, babies and toddlers learn by observing adults, even when those adults aren't intentionally trying to teach them anything. Although most parents are well aware of this not-so-secret learning techniques, the well-funded research is a reassuring reminder that your kids are not the only kids being nosy.
Now that you’re suspiciously looking over your shoulder, consider these financial behavior dos and don’ts as we ride out this uncertain future:
DON’T Panic if your find yourself in a financial bind. Establishing confidence in kids (and in your own financial teaching skills as a parent) is already a challenge. Let’s not add more pressure than necessary. You don’t want to accidentally associate money with anxiety, stress and crisis for your child.
Attempt to converse in the same tone/manner you always use. Kids pick up on anxious states, tempo and pitch changes. Also, be cognizant of your physical demeanor when you receive less than stellar financial news. Again, children mimic their parents actions so if you freak out, they will too.
DO talk about AND practice disciplined saving habits. Now is a great time to introduce your kids to the concept of habitually saving a percentage of their money for rainy day funds.
Make saving fun! Drive your kids through your bank’s drive through lane to deposit your monthly savings (masks on of course). Currently, crowds are thin, which gives you more time to narrate your actions and cement the importance of saving with your child.
Not sure what to discuss with your child? Feel free to shoot us a message and we will be more than happy to offer some kid friendly financial advice.
DON’T leave kids out of money conversations (appropriate topics, of course). This is a great time to get them involved and make them feel empowered by helping the family out. DON’T let money be a taboo or “adult” only conversation.
DO talk about the importance of budgeting (even when life returns to normal), and include concepts such as wants vs needs.
Kids learn through action and repetition, which means today is an excellent time to let them practice! Understanding wants vs needs can be fun. Make grocery shopping a family activity. Set a weekly food budget, and have your child work through the grocery list while sticking to the budget. Add an extra layer of fun and incentivize their performance by letting them keep the difference if the weekly total comes in under budget!
DON’T put your money before your health. Doctors visits can be quite expensive, but that is NO reason to postpone you or your loved ones healthcare needs (mental and physical). Times are tough for many, but demonstrate that investing in your physical and mental well-being is a necessity, and will often cost you less in the long run than foregoing routine check-ups and preventative care.
DO say no. It’s okay, we promise your child will not hold it against you forever. If you are financially strained, it is okay to let your kids know that the family is being extra careful about their spending right now. It’s actually the perfect opportunity to reiterate the concept of needs versus wants and the importance of delayed gratification. See how this all came full circle?
Ca$hing in on Change,
Common Cents Crew
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