Children and teens are targeted with advertising just about everywhere they go. These messages try to convince kids that buying lots of stuff is the key to having fun and being popular. Ads use trendy music, movies and TV characters to sell everything from toothpaste and breakfast cereals to clothing and sports gear.
Kids can get carried away wanting to buy all the latest brand-name stuff, so how can parents manage their expectations? Turn this into a teachable moment. Help your child understand the value of a dollar so they can tune out the pressure to buy.
Avoid impulse buying. From an early age, let your child know that they can’t buy everything they want in a store. Help children control the urge for instant gratification and build patience by letting them know you will discuss it later — at
home. Children may realize, after leaving the store, that the thing they wanted so badly is not really needed after all.
Have an open discussion. If your child wants to buy an outrageously expensive pair of athletic shoes, for example, listen to his or her side of the story. Help your child understand the cost difference of buying apparel that’s endorsed by a superstar athlete and good quality gear that’s not. You might decide to chip in for the price of a regular pair of shoes, giving your child the option to pay the difference for a more expensive pair.
Let mistakes happen. Every kid is bound to make money mistakes, and that’s OK. The key is to give them the opportunity to learn from mistakes and build better financial habits. Avoid swooping in to fix every mishap by handing out more cash.
Make saving a priority. Open a savings account for your child if he or she doesn’t have one already. Remind kids that saving money today can help them pay for really important and meaningful things down the road.
It’s not always easy, but talking to kids about money can give them the tools to make smarter decisions later in life. Visit https://navigatorcu.org to learn more about savings accounts at Navigator.