How can parents prepare their children for success! One measure of success is financial! There are personal finance classes, online classes, books, magazines and more. I even wrote about how field trips reinforced financial irresponsibility. It is though nothing has worked before we had all these wonderful resources. It really is not such a mystery, but you still need to do something.
As parents, we are constantly looking for validation for the various things we do with our children. I think all parents want their children to succeed in life. It starts early, when you look for reactions from your infant. You read, talk, make faces, sounds and to just get their attention. All of those actions are important because infants and children need to form a connection and what they see and hear helps in that respect. What does this have to do with personal finance? Everything!
When my children were small, I talked to them all the time. My wife worked part time and I took care of them on Saturdays. It was just my children and me. We would go to my work, read together or play. I realize I am no different than other parents, but I probably did some things differently. Remember, my children are adults now. Besides the usual conversations, I asked a lot of questions. Then, I asked why do you want to do this or that? I also played a lot of games with them.
All this stimulus has a positive effect on their young brains. Why is that important? If you were an Olympic athlete, you would spend considerable time and effort to reach your peak condition. Your doctor monitors your child’s development physically and you should help your children develop too. Development or learning starts very early! The basis for learning is language and reading will make your child more successful. Communication starts with reading, writing and speaking.
Be supportive by your behavior
Parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Along with all the things you do with your children, you need to model the right behavior. If your children see you reading, they will read too. If you take your child to work so they can see what you do, it may spark an interest or connect work skills to school. Your attitude about school and learning influences your children. So much rests on how you handle issues!
Children learn much more from observing what you do versus what you tell them. If you go shopping every time you have a bad day at work, your children will too. You can teach your children delayed gratification by example. If you do not delay gratification, your children won’t either. Teach them saving for what they want rather than borrow for it. It starts with involvement in their learning process. You have to make it a priority because learning does not stop when you are done with school.
You often see parents involved in their children’s after school activities such as sports, but it should not stop there. Take your child to the library, museums, parks, sporting events, concerts, and work. Exposing them to a variety of activities helps them grow and develop. Take the time to impart your values and include them with what you do on a daily basis. What does this have to do with financial success? It reminds me of the scene in Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel to wax the truck.
School skills are work skills
The skills we learn in school help our children achieve success. Activities such as sports, clubs, scouting, organizations and family situations help us learn tools for success. Students learn that you work and good work is recognized as success. It is very similar to the real world. Teach your children about money and work by having them earn money. It can be a paper route, washing cars, cutting the grass or other chores. They can earn money for their first car.
If you think all the financial literacy classes and lessons you can give your children will save them from disaster, you are wrong! It is basic skills such as learning, math and social skills which are necessary to achieve success. Parents are role models and how they demonstrate their values or responsibility is much more important than what they say. A student with good grades who can balance a variety of things such as sports, social life, and school involvement will achieve success!
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