I’m helping iVillage spread the word and I want YOU to join in too!The holidays tend to bring out the me me me syndrome in our kids… Have you taken the chance to sit down and have ‘the Talk’ with your kids? Not THAT talk! The financial talk! Help your kids understand what’s most important this year, take a minute and #HaveTheTalk! Check out iVillage's 'the Talk' Facebook app for more great ideas!
Christmas can really bring out your kids' inner Grinch--I know I wanted to steal all the presents in the world for myself at a certain age--and the post-Christmas letdown they experience can be quite severe. Christmas is over, but this may be the perfect time to discuss financial matters with your kids.
Draw your kids attention to all the toys and other gifts they've received over the years that didn't make them happy (and might not have even been as cool as they looked in the store or on TV). Highlight the methods advertisers use to make children's products seem more appealing, fun or necessary than they actually are. (To avoid adding to next year's Christmas wishlist, you could use cheesy old vintage advertisements for obsolete toys as examples--sometimes, you have to love YouTube.) Then explain how this applies to adults as well as children--that age-eradicating moisturizer or ridiculous "As Seen On TV" tomato chopper isn't going to bring meaning or fulfillment to anyone's life, but you wouldn't know that to watch the ads for them. The more kids understand about marketing and consumer capitalism (in age-appropriate terms, of course), the more likely you are to be able to get through to them when discussing financial matters. Ads work by convincing us that we need things that we don't and even when we can't afford them, and ads for children's products are some of the worst because kids aren't the ones worrying about the "afford" part. Explain to your kids what else could be accomplished with the same $19.99 their current coveted object costs. Personally, I think an allowance is a great tool to teach even small children that money isn't an unlimited commodity--if they have to spend their own money on something, they'll learn to be more careful in the future. That Christmas money from Grandma could be a great place to start as well.