One of the best ways to deal with the “I Wants” is to give your child some money.
“Give my child money?!” you ask? Yes. You can teach your child how to be financially responsible if you teach them about value and the fact that money doesn’t grow on trees.
A few summers ago, I gave my daughters each $5 and took them garage sale shopping. My thought was that they could spend “their” money on anything (within reason) that they wanted and garage sales often offer cheaper prices than shopping retail.
It was a great lesson in finances. The money was practically burning a hole in one daughter’s pocket. She wanted everything she saw at the first garage sale. My other daughter was a little more selective, but still picked some items that I would call ‘interesting,’ to say the least.
While we were shopping, I casually asked each daughter if the item she selected was something she needed, or felt that she really wanted, or if it was just something she thought would be neat. If she spent her money on that item, would she regret not being able to buy something else at the next garage sale?
We talked about the possibility of coming back, after going to a second garage sale, if she decided that she did really want the item after all. We also discussed the risk of the item possibly being gone if we came back.
Both girls bought a few things at the first sale, but also put a few things back to save their money for the next sale. When we got to the next sale, they saw a large wooden structure that they both loved and wanted to use as a Barbie house. They were able to pool their leftover money and pay for it together ($2).
After that big purchase, both financially and in physical size, my girls decided to keep the rest of their money ($2 and $0.45) for another day.
Giving your child some money can help teach them to be financially responsible. Whether you just hand money out -as I did to teach this lesson, have your child earn it, or set up an allowance plan, you, as the parent, get to decide how much and how often.
By learning about value and having the freedom or control to purchase his/her own items, you can reduce your child’s “I want this!” and “I want that” by saying, “Yes! You can have that. You can use your money to buy it!”