7 Ways to Raise a Money-Smart Kid

As frugal parents, naturally, we want our kids to be smart about money too. Here are seven easy ways to raise a money-smart kid!

1. Expose your pre-schooler to cash

By showing money to kids, they get a better understanding of what you are trying to teach them. Try playing “bank” or “store” for further understanding in a fun way.

2. Ditch the “replace it” attitude

When a toy breaks, have you ever heard your child say, “it’s ok, we can get another one”? When that moment comes, think of it as a learning time. Let them know that it costs money to replace a broken item. Replace that attitude with a “waste not” attitude. Let your child help donate items they no longer use, or have them “earn” a new toy by helping with chores.

3. Encourage delayed gratification

I cannot say enough how many times my mother taught me this. If I saw a toy in the store that I wanted, she would tell me that I would have to earn it. And I did! By doing chores, she would pay me a little here and there so I could buy the toy myself. I also took better care of things I bought myself because I understood I would have to save up again if it broke or got lost.

4. Talk about it

Some parents never talk about money in front of their kids. My mom did, but only to say that we couldn’t afford this or that new thing that I wanted. This helped me to understand that I couldn’t have everything that I wanted. By not talking about money, kids may grow up thinking a debit card never runs out of money and that if something breaks then you can just go buy a new something. Explain where money comes from and that it can (and will) run out if you aren’t careful about what you spend it on.

5. Be a role model

If you want your kids to be money-smart, they need to see you be money-smart. When you go to the bank to make a deposit, take them with you and explain what you are doing. If you are donating or volunteering, get your kids involved too.

6. Practice, Practice, Practice

Make some pretend money and play “store” or “bank”. Let your kids pick out a piggy bank to keep up with the money they are saving. Even if they don’t have an allowance, coins they find on the street or in the couch cushions could go right into the piggy bank when they understand the value of saving money.

7. Tell stories, not lectures

If you start lecturing about the importance of saving money, your kids will probably zone out pretty quickly. Instead go to your local library about pick out some books about saving money. For a start, try out “The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money” or “The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense,” both by Stan and Jan Berenstain.

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11 Ways to Get Your Toddler to Eat Healthy

Eat-Healthy

I don’t know about you, but I had a crazy hard time getting my toddler to eat, not to mention eat healthy. She lived off goldfish and pretzels. The only reason I wasn’t crazy about this is because she loved V8 V-Fusion Juices; that way I at least knew she was getting her recommended fruits and veggies each day. But I stumbled upon an article about how to get your toddler to eat healthy food. You can check out the full article here, but here are a few of the highlights:

Get the Kids Involved: Let your toddler help with menu planning and writing the shopping list. Ask him to hold the grocery list at the store. Let him help make choices about what to buy… apples or oranges?

Encourage Your Kitchen Helpers: Let him help wash lettuce or measure the flour for a cake.

Have Fun With It: Arrange veggies on a plate to look like a face. Make pancakes into shapes or cut toast into shapes. Offer yogurt as a dip.

Take a Field Trip: Take your toddler apple picking at an orchard or berry picking at a berry farm. Or plant your own fruits and veggies and let him harvest them himself.

Watch the Juice: Limit juice intake to encourage eating other foods. Make sure the juice you do offer is 100% juice and not a “juice drink’.

Blend and Bake: Get your toddler involved in making smoothies; try some fresh or frozen fruit, milk or frozen yogurt, and fruit juice. How about baking some muffins? Add some blueberries to a basic muffin mix.

Don’t Be Too Sneaky: Don’t hide “hidden” ingredients. Your toddler may be upset about it later.

Make It Count: Be aware of your toddler’s nutritional needs. They are pretty basic (and small) at this point. Just make sure to cover the basics, then he can continue to live on pretzels and goldfish.

Make the Fast Food Switch: Occasional fast food won’t hurt, but try to switch out fries for apple slices or try a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a cheeseburger.

Be a Good Role Model: Remember that your toddler likes to mimic you, so practice what you preach! If you want your toddler to eat healthy, you need to eat healthy too! (Plus it’s good for you.)

Be Positive: Don’t force your toddler to eat. It’s likely that the more you and your toddler fuss about food, the harder it will be to get him to eat. Offer praise when your toddler does eat healthy food.

Do you have any other ideas?