Teaching children about money in Nigeria
The moment your child recognizes the Naira notes and knows the value that can be purchased with cash handed to them, he/she is ready for the ‘talk’.
Having money conversations with your child does not require you to be an investment professional.
Money 101: financial literacy.
The conversation starts with understanding the difference between basic survival needs of an individual, and other things the individual buys or owns to make them more happy or more comfortable.
After a certain value of money is set aside for basic everyday needs – food, shelter, clothings e.t.c; a chunk of what we spend the rest of our money on are known as ‘wants’. These wants obviously are not things that we cannot survive without.
The knowledge of what money is used for and how it is spent gets established naturally in the minds of your child when he or she observes your pattern of spending.
Choose carefully, everything comes at a cost.
Parents need to impress the theory of cost in their children’s minds. Buying that new shiny bicycle would cost them an opportunity to have gotten a PlayStation instead.
This financial discipline can be established earlier in their development by not indulging your children and buying every item requested by them.
As they grow, their mindset is developed against impulsive buying; they also get to understand the necessity of items based on their usefulness and draw up a scale of preference to help them check their spending habit.
A basic angle to financial literacy that should be learnt by every child is the concept of delayed gratification. This simply helps the child determine what is urgent from what is important as he or she gets to understand that even though this ‘want’ is good, it is not suited for this time but a later time.
Overtime, the child will view requests intelligently from not just the need/want perspective but also the cost and time associated with such request.
Your selective refusal to grant such requests for gifts and other numerous wants of your child would eventually establish the lessons of cost, value and choice in the mind of the child.
Teach them to save for the rainy day.
Earn, spend, save, invest and become wealthy. It is important to let your child know that consistently putting money aside is the stepping stone to financial freedom.
Encourage the use of piggy banks – make them understand the connection between delayed gratification and saving to become wealthy.
This will shape their notion on financial decisions as they advance through life – a major legacy you would have bequeathed on the child.
Teach them the value of work.
Children have everything done for them very early in their lives. Train your child to work and get rewarded in order to reinforce the concept of diligence which could be valued in terms of money.
For instance, giving children treats for excellent grades at school will boost their confidence and keep them motivated to strive for the best in their studies. Once in a while, reward them when they tidy up their messy room, or for just being obedient to basic home rules.
Teach them to give; there’s love in sharing.
Empathy is an interpersonal skill that needs to be taught right from the formative years of the child. Teach children to give, without the expectation of getting a favour in return. Let them have that good feeling that comes from being able to help because they genuinely care.
Every child has distinguishing traits or talents. Make it a duty to discover your child’s unique characteristics or natural inclinations early and guide them to identify with their talents. Coach them to become successful even right from childhood and as they get older and become independent, they could turn this innate passion into a career and gain fulfillment financially and in other aspects of their lives.