10 Money Lessons for Grade Schoolers

I remember when I started getting an allowance. I was a 9 years old and my parents discovered a stash of money (birthday and random cash gifts from relations) that I had hidden in my drawer. After a brief chat about where I got the money from and what my plans were, my father implemented a monthly allowance system that stayed in place until I graduated college. My allowance was thin and had to cover my food, transportation, college class supplies and casual clothes. I learnt quickly how to prioritize financially, make sacrifices, do without and be content. That discipline has shaped how I make financial choices even as an adult. It wasn't always fun, but in hindsight it was a lesson worth learning.

Over the last one year, I've been more conscious of introducing my 6 year old twins to simple financial concepts. Start them off young on a financial path where they understand smart money choices. In no particular order, here are 10 things I've started doing to sow the seeds for financial smarts for their future.

Stopping to Smell the (Baby) Roses

It a little after midnight and I've just finished feeding my son a bottle of milk. As I alternately rubbed and bumped his back waiting for him to burp, I studied the his face indulgently - the contours of his cheek, his pouty lips, the way he creases his eyebrows whenever a thump startles him from his almost-asleep state. It was past midnight and I was tired and I should and want to be asleep but here I sit instead, leisurely falling in love with my son.

I was surprised when I realized that this emotion felt new to me. Didn't I go through this with the twins? Do I love my son more than my daughters?

Actually no!

Talking to My 6 Year Olds About Sex

The twins are 6 years old and that apparently is the age where all sorts of pointed questions about sex get asked. Add a newborn baby into the mix and the questions roll out even faster and "furiouser". And of course, mommy is the answerer of all such questions. I confess that I've been negligent in preparing myself to answer those questions. Should have read a few books on talking to kids about sex but life was too short and I was too busy.

Regardless of my tardiness in reading up on the subject, I've handled the conversations with a combination of correction, diversion and education. The conversations go somehow like this:

Blogging With Kids

Blogging with kids! 

It's sorta like walking while chewing gum; spit is produced in copious amounts and regardless of that, you have to keep moving forward.

I'm not sure that the analogy above even makes sense but one thing I'm sure of is that sooner or later everyone that's blogging while parenting asks themselves the pertinent question: should I do this? should I blog about my kids? The "Yes" and "No" sides of this equation have been weighed by me over the last 6+ years and both sides are worth hearing.

No, do not blog about your kids because

  1. It invades their privacy especially when they are too young to consent to the information being shared. Imagine little Johnny's future employer or colleagues googling his name and learning all about his potty quirks
  2. It exploits them especially in cases where their photos are used to promote the parents' "brand" in sponsored posts or for some other monetary gain.
  3. It compromises their safety where suddenly random strangers know their names, what they look like, their favorite cereal, where they live etc. Thanks to Hollywood, we all have a fairly healthy dose of paranoia and imagine what all the villians in the movies could do with this information
Yes, blog about your kids because
  1. It's a living childhood journal. I have printed photobooks for each year of the twins' life and they are at the age where they enjoy flipping through the books and remembering when they were babies. A blog can serve the same purpose; as an online journal that kids can one day review with nostalgia.
  2. It captures the parents' voice. Why would capturing your voice as a parent be important? Let me share my personal experience as a daughter. My mother died when I was 5 years old so I really have no emotional database of her voice, tone or personal idiosyncrasies to humanize my memories of her. For the longest time, she was just a saintly figure crowned in a corner of my heart. That is until I found her diary and read her thoughts as a mother written by her own hand in her own voice. Reading the diary of my mother marked a major turning point in my life's journey as a motherless daughter - I went from assuming my mother loved me to knowing definitively that she did because of how she wrote about me in my diary. If you grew up with a mother, this concept may be hard for you to wrap your mind around but trust me, it was a big deal for me. Authoring a blog is a way of capturing some of your essence for your kids in case they'll need it for their emotional memory bank.
So, blogging with kids, yay or nay? From the length of the individual points above, it's fairly easy to see which one matters to me the most. For the first 4 years of authoring this blog, it's purpose was to serve as a guide for other twin moms. Today, it's purpose has shifted a little. I still want to share my learnings as a parent, but I also want to "capture" my voice for my kids. 

Today, I say "Yay" and that's what it'll be until the "Nay" becomes stronger. 

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