Delayed gratification is probably one of the most difficult concepts to teach your kids. At that young age, they are always impatient, always want stuff, and they always want it now. Learning this principle while they are young is essential for their future financial security.
Delayed gratification simply means putting off what we want today for more financial security in the future. Now, defining this for your younger kids may not be of use to them, so you have to show them. As they get older it gets easier to explain this financial principle to them.
There are several ways to teach your kids about delayed gratification, such as:
- Start Small: with your little kids who haven’t started handling money, you can start by teaching them patience in small things. Make them wait patiently for dinner at 6, instead of giving them a snack at 5:30. Teach them to stay quiet and wait their turn to speak, instead of interrupting others. Patience is a virtue that will guide your children in making future financial decisions.
- Give them Money: as they get older, start giving them an allowance. The allowance also comes with the responsibility of buying their toys, books, and even clothes and shoes. You will tell them clearly that you aren’t buying any of these things for them anymore, since they have the money to. This will help them to decide if they really need to get that pizza now, or put that on hold and get something of higher priority.
- Give them Just Enough: when giving your kids an allowance, give them just the right amount. The amount should be enough for them to save, and not too much for them to spend and splurge on things. This way, they will have to choose whether to buy that cheap bicycle now, or save up and buy the more expensive bike that they want later. This will also teach them to appreciate the little things, such as getting a treat once in a while.
- Don’t Give In, Don’t Back Down: once you start giving your kids allowances and more financial responsibility, make sure you stick to your rule of not buying those things that are their responsibility for them again. Your kids will test you by playing all sorts of shenanigans, even crying in the middle of the supermarket because they want something they can’t buy with their own money, so they want you to buy it for them. Stand your ground and tell them no. They can forgo that future purchase for this one if they want, but you won’t buy it for them.
These steps will teach your children patience, decision-making skills, and will also teach them to value money more, so that they are wiser about how they spend it and what they spend it on.