Life Skills I Want My Daughters to Learn Early that Will Benefit them for Life
I have two young and beautiful daughters. As parents, I believe we all want our kids to have the best. We want them to be happy, healthy, and successful in life. Sometimes, I wonder how I can best prepare them for their future. And perhaps, one of the best ways I can do is to impart the right values and educate them about financial literacy from an early age.
Personally, I feel that this is one lesson that they will unlikely learn in school and they should not only learn it as adults in the school of hard knocks. During the course of my work, I have seen many families struggling with their finances. Although we can prepare our children financially by planning for them or setting money aside for them, what is better than to equip them with financial knowledge and skills that will benefit them for life? And by teaching my children the value of money, it helps to instill a sense of responsibility about money — and not take it for granted.
Cultivating good financial habits and helping them understand the value of money from a young age can make a huge difference when they grow up. Therefore, explaining how to save, budget, invest and plan for the future is one of the most important skills we can impart to them.
So when should we start?
We can introduce the concept of money to them when they are toddlers. It should not be a taboo subject and one of the things I will do to get them money savvy is to shop with them and let them learn how to handle money. For instance, when my elder girl requests for some toys, I will try to explain if that is within our budget. It is teaching her delayed gratification. She knows she has to wait for her birthday or Christmas to get some of the toys she wants – and that is if she behaves.
According to a research, children are developmentally capable of saving when they are as young as five or six, and their developmental gains at this age may give them the economic knowledge and behaviours they require as adults. I see this as a pivotal time. So by then, you can also talk to them about savings and how interest works. Encourage your children to start the habit of putting money away for the future early (maybe to get their favourite toys).
Teaching them the concept of investment
Yes, teaching kids about investment can start really young. Though this concept may seem “too big for young kids to swallow”, we can always relate it to something tangible and easier for them. You can praise them when they finish a piece of art work by saying, “Wow, you invested time and effort in this and it looks amazing.”
Another way to introduce this concept is through an activity like planting seeds. You can help your child plant some seeds in a flowerpot. Talk about the time the plant needs to grow and the water you need to “invest” in it to get a pretty sunflower or a tomato at the end in “return”.
Actions can speak louder than words
Try to lead by example when it comes to kids and money. They inherit many of your financial beliefs subconsciously. When you visit a shop with your kids and they see dollar notes leave your wallet, they visualise it and gain a better understanding. So spend money wisely in front of your kids.
Though money is a tool, it is related to many things in life. You want them to be spending on things that can create value when they grow up, rather than worrying about how they are going to pay off their debts. If your kids simply expect pocket money at the end of every week, you may not be doing it right. Instead, emphasise that the amount they receive will be based on the scope of their labour, for instance helping out with the household chores or helping someone in need.
Imparting the Right Values
I feel that the good thing about teaching our kids about financial literacy is that we can also nurture other life values along the way.
Through money management, children can learn about setting goals and making responsible and informed decisions. They will plan more consciously when they want to buy the things they want, and cultivate patience when they experience delayed gratification. This is all part of their character-building process that will benefit them for a lifetime.
And most importantly, these activities promote family bonding as we all learn and share thoughts together!
I believe that the acquisition of knowledge and skills goes beyond paper qualifications. I will not encourage my children to chase for good grades in school simply to secure a good paying job in the future.
Like Jack Ma once told his son, “you don’t need to be in the top three in your class, being in the middle is fine, so as long as your grades aren’t too bad. Only this kind of person has enough free time to learn other skills.”
I feel that although academic achievements are important, it should not be the main priority in life. Learning is a lifelong journey and the important thing is to make this journey interesting and exciting for my children, so that they can be equipped with the right values and the practical life skills and mindset to overcome any challenges in life.
Ultimately, watching our kids grow happily and healthily is what all mothers hope for, don’t you agree?