Whatever the currency, a sound understanding of what money is and how to use it is something that is so central to our lives yet never taught in schools as a basic life skill. It is therefore up to the Muslim Mama to take charge and ensure that your children pick up good habits that will see them in good stead in the future. Children are not born with the knowledge that everything in life has a cost!
Just like anything else the younger you start learning the better the understanding. While a child is often limited to the income that you provide for them that does not mean that they cannot earn money via pocket money or chores. Although it may be tempting to fulfil your child’s every materialistic desire it is up to you, as their parent or guardian, to instill healthy spending and saving habits.
Here are 5 tips to get it right (even if you don’t practise what you preach :D).
Handouts don’t exist
As we all know you don’t receive money for free. In this life you must go to work and in exchange you receive a wage. A similar concept can be created in the home. Involving children in helping the family with chores is a great way to teach children that money often is acquired through the exchange of work. This can be implemented from a very young age with tasks becoming more complex as they grow older. Be creative and make it work for you. All I can say is that at the age of eight I gave my mum a head massage for one hour and made 50p #hustled.
This may sound counterintuitive to the concept of being money savvy however taking your children out shopping with a limited budget can provide valuable life skill lessons. They will also be so consumed with what they can buy that you are likely to be able to shop in peace. Allow your child to pick the ingredients for a family meal within the allotted budget or a random treat within the amount you have set for them. Being able to visualise what can be bought with the money you have is a great way to both understand the value of money and improve mathematical skills. Using coins is even better as it will help your child fathom the thought that mamas magic purse does not have endless funds!
Your child has the ‘power’
Give your child the choice and the responsibility by allowing them to receive a small amount of pocket money each week and asking them to choose to save or splurge on items they want. This will help good habits form from early on in relation to the concept of saving. Saving for something will also help your child to appreciate the item as they will need to show self-restraint and determination in order to get what they want instead of an instant reward.
Teaching a child patience when they claim to need or want something can go a long way. Impulse purchasing often ends in guilt or regret (mainly for your bank balance), so asking your child to wait till a special occasion for big purchases can be especially useful. Waiting a couple of days to buy something that is not a necessity can help them to really think about if they want /need something. If they find that after the time has passed, they have moved on, you have indirectly just taught your child a valuable money lesson.
Teaching your child the value of money and instilling good habits is important but teaching them the concept of helping others is even more of a life skill that will put your child in a good position in the future and build good character. Teach your child the importance of charity and sharing wealth with others/causes that are not as fortunate. The feelings that your child will get when helping others will encourage them to continue acts of kindness and help them to be empathetic towards others.
Although it is not an easy task embedding good money habits into your children it is an invaluable life lesson which any parent must begin as early as possible. Keep it light and fun and every now and again give them a treat. After all, the time where they have no responsibility doesn’t last forever!
Do you agree? How did your parents instill good money habits when you were little? What are you doing to help your children grow up to be financially savvy? We would love to hear!
I am a housewife with 4 'children' in their 30's. As a mother I feel strongly about empowering other mothers with information that can help them with the different stages of motherhood. No mother should ever feel alone on the motherhood journey and we can all do our bit to help.