For many families money is a little tight right now. And while parents may have a clear understanding of why the family needs to cut back, explaining it to your children can be a little harder. Here are some tips that can make it a little easier.
• Give your children brief and honest explanations. It is important for them to know that money is tight, but sharing too many details and worries can be a big burden for a child.
• When making changes to the family budget make sure your children know what to expect. If possible involve them in age appropriate decisions. Involving children with decision-making can help make them more compliant when those rules are later enforced. Family meetings can be a great way to set up rules and offer incentives.
• Remember that it is okay to set limits. Just because your child begs for something doesn’t mean you need to cave in. You are actually teaching your child an important lesson. It is important for children to learn how to delay gratification and how to work for what they want.
• Keep your cool even if your child doesn’t. Don’t fight about financial demands made by your child, instead give yourself some time to cool off and then set aside some time to explain the importance of financial priorities and budgeting to your child. Rather than using the time to lecture, use it to teach, explain, and answer questions. Even very young children can understand some basic principles of budgeting.
• Teach older children how to plan ahead for the things they want. Children can save up their allowance or earn money by doing extra chores.
• A little understanding can go a long way. Let your children know that you know how they feel and that there are a lot of things you would like to purchase too.
• Be creative and find low-cost activities in your area. Most communities have parks, free movie nights, concerts, and other events.
While it is important to be strong for your children, it doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself. Yours is not the only family going through hard times right now. Many organizations in the community have started support groups to help support people struggling in the current economy. Your doctor can also help you develop some coping strategies for dealing with stress.
For More Information: