Today's kids are no strangers to financial woes. If they were born during the past 10 years, they've likely witnessed or felt the effects of the 2007-09 financial crises in their households. They’ve felt the stress of their families struggling to pay the bills, the loss of homes or jobs, higher prices and less expendable money.
Surprisingly, it's not just U.S. kids who have concerns about family finances. According to a recent Children’s World Study conducted by the University of York, U.K., and reported on by the Huffington Post, “the majority of youngsters share the same stress and concerns as their parents and the politicians of their countries.”
The study included 20,000 eight-year-old children from 16 countries. The children were asked for their feelings about their families, home and school lives, personal well being and happiness, and material possessions and money. While most of the children in the participating countries reported being happy with their lives, close to 33% stated they were worried about how much money their families had.
The survey concluded that while kids are concerned they do have hope for the future:
- 46% said things will be tough for a while but will get better eventually
- 26% said things will get worse
- 23% said they have no clue because it's all so confusing
- 5% said things will get better quickly
The survey also revealed that kids are willing to do their part to help. Allowing your kids to pitch in will help them better understand that your family can work together as a team to minimize financial stress. Check out our sidebar article for ideas.
Discussing money issues with children is difficult for parents all around the world. But it’s a very important discussion. Your children need to know they can come to you with their questions and concerns regarding how your family’s financial issues might affect them both short and long term. Keep your discussion age-appropriate, be honest, and answer their questions to the best of your ability.
Below are 20 ways kids can help their families save money:
1. Turn off the lights when they are not being used.
2. Unplug their cell phone chargers when they are not in use.
3. Take shorter showers and turn off the water when they are brushing their teeth.
4. Help more with household chores so their parents don’t have to pay for services (i.e. lawn care, house cleaning, child care)
5. Pack their school lunches and skip the school lunch program.
6. Help plan a fun “stay-cation” for their family
7. Shop for clothing with their parents at thrift stores.
8. Help organize a family yard sale.
9. Clip grocery coupons from the paper or search for coupons online (older children).
10. Wash the dishes by hand vs. using the dishwasher.
11. Make gifts and cards for holidays and birthdays.
12. Get movies from the local library vs. Netflix or Redbox.
13. Agree to a lower (or no) allowance.
14. Reuse and repurpose things they already have.
15. Drink more water vs. sodas and juices.
16. Recycle for cash.
17. Wash and vacuum the family car.
18. Start and maintain a family garden.
19. Turn off the WiFi on cell phones and computers when not in use.
20. Create an “at home” dinner date for their parents (and then give them some privacy).
FamilyMint has helped thousands of parents raise money-smart kids by teaching children about financial goal setting, and forming the types of financial habits and behaviors that will lead to financial success. We are dedicated to helping parents improve financial literacy through our fun, educational, intuitive, and award-winning online money management application.