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Honesty, Responsibility & Gratitude

Raising a child to be responsible with money isn’t just about giving them a financial education. It’s also about teaching them to be good people and citizens. As a child grows, if they learn to be honest, know how to be responsible and understands the importance of gratitude, they’re very likely to be able to apply these things to their finances.

Honesty.

Talking to your child about being truthful from a very young age will help them develop integrity. It’s natural for toddlers and even young children to lie from time to time, but it’s important to teach them that telling the truth is always the right thing to do. When it comes to money (and everything else), honesty really is the best policy.

Try this: Play a game with younger children, telling them something simple that they understand, like, “Your teddy bear is brown,” and ask them if it’s the truth or not the truth. Then talk about why it’s always best to tell the truth.

Ask your older child to talk about a time it was hard for them to tell the truth, and why they did. Then discuss the importance of honesty.

Responsibility.

There are many ways to teach responsibility to your children that will offer benefits far into the future, including in their financial lives. Something as simple as teaching toddlers to clean up their toys at the end of play time is the beginning of teaching responsibility. As children get older, household chores are a simple, but powerful way for your child to learn responsibility.

Try this: Teach younger children to put away their toys (at first, with your help). Choose their favorite and ask them what it would feel like if a particular toy got lost and then let them know that if toys aren’t put away, they can get lost. This gives them a taste of what can happen if they’re not responsible, but without the consequences.

Go to a nursery and allow older children to choose a small plant. Tell them it’s their responsibility to take care of it. Seeing that plant look droopy will help illustrate the impact of not being responsible.

Gratitude.

Teaching your children how to be thankful for what they have in their lives is a surefire way to raise them to be happier and more responsible. A study in the Journal of Psychological Science found that feeling grateful can help us avoid instant gratification spending, and in the long run, that can have an impact on finances. Plus, practicing gratitude helps us to notice things in our lives that bring us joy, both big and small.

Try this: With younger children start using the word to familiarize them with it. When you say “I love you”, you can also say, “I’m grateful for you.” For older children, ask them to tell you something they’re grateful for every night at dinner, or before bed. Make it a habit.