It is never too early to start saving for your kids, and it is never too early to start teaching them how to manage their money. The value of saving is something most people didn’t learn until it was too late. Which brings me to today’s story… I have to preface the story by saying something about my oldest son. He has a memory like an elephant and a bed full of stuffed animals that he has collected over the last 3 years. He is also obsessed with Spiderman. Tonight he got to put on his Spider Man PJ’s, and underwear. To which he replies “Now I am all SpiderManned up Daddy,” my response “good for you.”
The kid loves his stuffed animals and refuses to sleep if anyone of them is missing. He will gleefully account for all 10+ items in his bed before turning in and heaven forbid he be missing one. Tonight my wife is putting him down to bed and he says “Mommy how come I don’t have a Spider Man toy/doll.” My wife told him that he has plenty of animals in his bed and doesn’t need a Spider Man. In typical three year old fashion he adamantly insisted on her getting him a Spider Man.
Now parents who find themselves in this situation could take it one of several ways. The first option of course is to just say no you don’t need any more toys. You could also give in to the demands and promise to purchase a Spider Man, possibly adding in only if they are good this week. A third way would be to calmly explain how anything in excess is not good and that possibly if you give up some of your existing toys you could then discuss purchasing a new Spider Man toy. There isn’t anything wrong with any of these choices, and I am sure there are several other options, my wife’s solution was perfect.
My wife told him “If you want to get a Spider Man toy you will have to save up your money and buy yourself one.” Little Man’s response was simply “I am too little to buy things mommy.” Of course he isn’t too little which my wife quickly explained and countered with “But I don’t have any money” which isn’t entirely accurate as he currently has well over $150 in his piggy bank (don’t ask). My wife made the first allowance pact at this point, seems a little crazy for a three year old to have an allowance but I think it is smart to start early and teach our children that if they want something it isn’t free. He will now earn $1 for every night he remembers to feed the dog, payable on Fridays. If he wants the toy he can purchase it when he has enough money.
I think it was a great way to handle the situation, big pat on the back to the old lady for that one, now for the next lesson we will have to cover the importance of saving some of what we make for bigger purchases and our futures, but I think that can wait a little while.
What do you think? Is 3 too young to have an allowance or is it a good way to teach kids about money?