Kids Need a Little Reality This Holiday Season

Me: What do you want for Christmas this year?

My 8-year old daughter: A laptop, a puppy, a webkin, a Nintendo DS, a cupcake maker for my friends and ummmm...a spa thingy.

Me: How much do you think Christmas costs?

My daughter: $101 sometimes. No … actually $200.

Me: How much money do you think Mommy makes at work?

My daughter: $1,000.

Me: How often?

My daughter: Every second.

Every mother wants to give our children their every heart’s desire. When that desire falls outside of our budget, we often feel like failures as parents because we think we’ve disappointed our children. As a single mother struggling to build a career, there were many Christmases that I tried to convince my daughter that she didn’t get something that she wanted not because I couldn’t afford it (which was the truth) but because “she didn’t really want that anyway.”

Here’s two great gifts to start the conversation with your children about money:

Monopoly - This isn’t the same Monopoly that you played when you were a kid. It uses debit cards instead of cash in some versions but still teaches budgeting and the value of owning investment real estate.

Cash Flow for Kids - Developed by Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, this game is the kid’s version of the adult game, Cash Flow. It offers true-to-life income and expense scenarios and teaches children how to “make money work for them.”

TIP: If the board game versions are too expensive, there are less expensive software versions.

As parents, we’re here to equip our children with what it takes to make them successful adults. When it comes to money, it means teaching them to make smart money decisions – not teaching them excess, irresponsibility, and all of our other dirty money habits that we most likely inherited from our well-intentioned parents.

All of this said, the most important gift that you can give your children this holiday season is an honest and age-appropriate conversation about money. Let’s empower them by demonstrating that there is nothing shameful or fearful about our finances by openly discussing it with them. I started my new mission to create an even more open dialogue and asked the question many of us are avoiding…

Me: What should we do if Mommy can’t afford everything you want for Christmas this year?

My daughter: We should just get a Christmas tree and dance around it.

Luckily, I think I can afford that.

How do you teach your kids about the value of a dollar? Comment in the momlogic commu

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