My kids are growing up with a lot more than I ever had. And that worries me, because it's important to teach kids the importance of money. We, as parents, want to give the best to our kids, but that sometimes lead them to take their comforts for granted. Here's how I'm trying to teach them the value of money:
Gifts only on birthdays
It's tempting to buy children gifts every so often, especially when you are out with them and they want something they see. I have made a rule-that they will get gifts only on birthdays. This teaches them to wait for what they want and use that wish for something they really need or like. So, when they ask me to buy them something, I tell them to put it on the list which they can give to nanis, dadis and other relatives, when the special day arrives.
If you lose it, you don't get another
Things cost money and they can't be replaced just because you did not look after them. It's this basic point that I have drilled into the kids from early on. And while this may be difficult to carry out because there will be tantrums and fights when you refuse to replace a glue stick (I am tired of buying glue sticks because the cap was lost and it dried up). It may seem small, but it will send a big message. The next time they use one, they will be careful to cap it back.
Donate in the presence of your kids
My husband and I are educating some needy children, and while I don't like to advertise the fact, I do make it a point to tell my daughters about it. This is because I don't want them to take their education for granted. I want them to realise that there are people in this world who are dependent on others for the basics of life. Also, by involving them, I hope to inculcate philanthropy in them as well. They need to do their bit for the society, and educating a child is the best thing one can do. I want my children to never forget that.
Discourage people to give them expensive gifts
This one is hard to do in India, especially when the relatives mean well and want to splurge on the children. I've found a way to handle this. I tell the family to give a reasonably priced gift, and if they wish to give more then I take the money and put it in the bank in the children's accounts. Expensive toys are a total waste in my opinion. That money can be put to good use for something substantial later. My children know this and always come running to me with the money their nana likes to shower on them, asking me to put it in the bank.
Reuse and Recycle
After my older daughter was born, I used to keep her clothes away for a second child-little did I know that every single piece of clothing I saved would be of use one day (because the twins followed soon!). Also, my sister would give me some of her daughter's clothes that were in perfect condition and I would take them happily. I have taught my girls that there is no shame in recycling older clothes. In fact, the twins now fight to wear what used to once belong to my older one. They take pride in the fact that they are wearing their sister's clothes. And it's not like I don't buy them their own clothes, but telling them about reusing sends the right message about saving on unnecessary spending.