According to parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba, what your child spends at 12 will determine how she saves the rest of her life. The habits you set in early are the habits that will last a lifetime, so it’s important to teach your child, especially in the pre-teen years, the importance of saving. Here are some tips from Dr. Borba on how to teach your pre-teen to be a smart saver.
1. Attitudes about money set in during the pre-school years, so hopefully you have set the foundation and started talking to your kids about the value of saving versus spending. Remember that in addition to talking to your kids, money attitudes are also learned from the example you set.
2. Have your child make a list of needs and wants. This is the age of “gotta have it now” so its time for your child to learn how to prioritize and this list will help them make better decisions.
3. Teach your child by example. Whether your child is 2 or 12, you can show that you are saving for their future. With a program like the Upromise World MasterCard from Bank of America, which earns 1% in college savings on all purchases that are automatically deposited into your child’s college savings fund, you are showing your child the importance of saving, especially to be prepared for the future.
4. Start to teach your child how to be a smart spender and consumer. Kids love the internet, so use it to your advantage. Have your child do comparison shopping online. If she only has a certain budget, she will need to do some research to find the best deal. She can also search online for coupons and coupon codes.
5. Set a house rule that you have to wait at least 24 hours to spend that way your child has time to really think about the purchase. Stretch the wait time if necessary to ensure that she is a smart shopper and not an impulse buyer.
6. Have you child open a savings account. If they have a part-time job, they can put a certain amount of each paycheck into savings or when they find bargains, then can take the extra money they budgeted and put those funds into savings.
7. As a parent, don’t be afraid to say the word no and above all else – Don’t give loans. We do not do our children any favors by giving in to their materialism. If fact, a University of Minnesota study found that materialistic girls that buy, buy, buy actually have lower self-esteem which can lead to increased anxiety and depression.
8. Start praising from the inside out. When you compliment for internal strengths, materialism reduces and the child learns that who she is, is more important that what she wears.
By teaching your child now how to save, she will be better prepared for the future.
Michele Borba, Ed.D. is an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author, parenting expert and child and adolescent expert. She has written 23 books, including her latest, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. Recognized for her practical, solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s behavior, character, and social development, and to build strong families, she is a regular guest on NBC’s TODAY Show and contributes to iVillage and Parents magazine. You can follow her online at www.micheleborba.com.