Sigh. It’s going to be a long road teaching our kids about money.
We were in the grocery store on Friday afternoon and the boys are always drawn like magnets to the claw grabber vending machine. I really hate this thing and see it as a total waste of money. The boys were begging for 50 cents each to have a go and as they have the allowance for just this kind of situation, I handed it over.
Of course, the grabber got hold of the teddy bear and then, oh so conveniently, dropped it before it could go down the chute. This happened to both of them. They ran back for more money. And more money. By the time, they were finished, they had each spent $4.00 and I think they would have spent more if I had not said it was time to leave.
A little girl also had a go and lost her $1. I started lecturing the boys saying “Look, between the three of you, you’ve just spent $9 and what do you have to show for it? This machine is designed to take your money.” I noticed the girls’ mom standing a short distance away, nodding her head vigorously.
But something tells me, my words were in vain and the kids will be spending more money before they finally come to the same conclusion. It’s the thrill of the competition for them: maybe this time I’ll get it!
Meanwhile, over on Twitter (you can follow me @growingrichkids or just click on the Twitter button on the top right hand side of the website page), I share interesting articles on kids and money every weekday.
There’s a lot of repetition or very basic advice out there, but there are also always some new and useful ideas too. Here’s what caught my attention this week:
- Liz Weston at MSN Money had a really interesting post called “Allowances: “Welfare” for Kids?” She shared research studies which showed that kids who were given unconditional allowances (ie. were not linked to chores) may actually be learning negative lessons from the experience. Financial literacy expert, Lewis Mandell, pointed Liz to the studies and he recommends that parents talk to kids about what they expect them to learn from having an allowance and to also talk about family finances too. Definitely thought provoking information in this one.
- Continuing the theme of worrying about the attitudes our children are learning, there was a candid post over at CocoaMamas.com sharing the struggle of guiding a teenage daughter “with a raging sense of entitlement and utter lack of responsibility and accountability.” I include it for the honest reflection and as a reminder that all of us face different challenges at different times as parents.
- On the FamilyMint blog, they shared A Really, Really Simple Way to Explain Supply & Demand to Kids. I really love getting these kinds of quick ideas that I can try out on our boys so will be introducing this to the conversation at the dinner table one evening soon.
- Summer Reading Programs. Yes, I know it’s not really about kids and money, but literacy is the foundation stone of financial literacy so it’s a critical skill. Plus, I love reading so want every kid to love it too. Here’s a round-up of some corporate summer reading programs. My favorite ones are run by our local libraries – we actually sign up at about three libraries as we go to different ones in our county because the boys read 20 – 30 books per week between them. The kids love the prizes which range from bendable pencils to pizza gift certificates to t-shirts.
Are you tempted by the claw grabber? Do you think they should even have them in the grocery store?