Well, it’s affected almost all of us. The economy and the stress that follows us through our days. We seem to have shorter fuses and our laughs seem to have turned into worry. It’s one thing to go through this alone, but when you have a family, the last thing you need is to add guilt to the list of our ever changing emotions. So what can we do to not only get through this tough time but maybe come out better on the other side? Aside from ‘fake it til you make it’ which I am always a big believer in, there are some things you and your family can do to make things easier and help the children understand better.
Despite our own panic, we first need to help our children understand the basics of what is happening, simple terms are best. This will help them when they see us upset or worrying about things. They need to know that while things are changing in the economy, they will always be taken care of and kept safe. Try to include them in saving. Make it a family affair or game so they feel in control as well. Another way to help a child realize they can be productive and save money at the same time is to plant a garden. It can be as small as a window garden, or as large as you have room for in your yard. Every child loves to make things grow and if your child never liked fruits and vegetables before, you will be amazed how that can change just from them growing the goods themselves. Let them have a say in all of it, from the planning to the digging to the eating!
For the older children, tweens to teens, you can be more direct.It may be tougher for them to not spend what they were used to. So show them the finances. Your monthly costs and your monthly income. It is simple math and something they “get”. It is also a great time for them to start to “work” for their own spending money. With my son, I make sure he has his needs, but when it comes to his wants, that is either a birth-day or Christmas gift or comes out of the money he has earned. He has learned extremely fast how to save for what he wants including asking family or friends for $ instead of a gift on his birthday. Chores, babysitting, mowing lawns, etc.. can be great ways for them to start.
Finally, back to “fake it til you make it” don’t forget this is our life and as hard as it is, especially right now, we need to remember to enjoy it! Don’t forget to laugh, don’t forget to hug and kiss and play. these are the things that make our children feel safe and secure. Oh and by the way, these are things that money can’t buy!