“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from It.” – Proverbs 22:6
As parents we have a God-given responsibility to steward the lives of our children in a way that teaches them to honor, love and obey Him. Since money is one of the greatest competotors for Christs affection in our lives, how are we doing in helping our children to love God more than loving any other material posession? Here are 4 simple ways to help our young ones learn what it means to be a good steward of God's resources.
First things first. Generosity is one of the best ways to gain a proper and balanced attitude towards money. Honoring God with first fruits, not just as a habit, but also as a way of showing gratitude, will help your children understand that all things come from God. So every time they earn an allowance teach them to set aside a portion for the Lord.
Let them earn it. Teaching children, even as young as four to six years old, to work for their allowance is a great way to teach them a good work ethic and to have an appreciation for the money they’ve earned. Create a “job” list, name the price for each job and let them enjoy earning the money.
Teach them to save. This is your opportunity to help them learn delayed gratification. Label three jars as Give, Save, Spend. Every time allowance is earned or birthday money is received, teach them to save a portion of that income. Savings can be used to purchase bigger items they really want but require a much larger sum of money. It can also be used for teaching investment principles.
Let them decide. This is a hard one—allowing your children to make decisions with their earned money. This is only half the battle. You must also allow them to experience the consequences of bad financial decisions. No bailouts allowed! If your child wants to spend their money on a silly toy just because they have to have something now, let them, but also teach them that the toy they really wanted can’t be bought until they save for it. This is the only way to help them understand that in life we make choices, and those choices have real consequences.