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How to teach your child to save and develop the right attitude to money

In 1960, an experiment was conducted at Stanford University.

Adults gave preschoolers a piece of marshmallow and then told them they would be gone for a while. The children who survived until the adult returned and did not eat the marshmallow would be rewarded with another slice. Whoever eats it gets nothing.

90% of the children ate their marshmallows. 10% resisted the temptation.

Scientists hypothesized that children who did not eat marshmallows were better at controlling their desires and were able to achieve greater success.

The hypothesis was confirmed. Fifty years later, scientists met with these children again. Those who endured and did not eat the marshmallows achieved high professional results. The rest became clerks or low-wage workers.

The experiment showed that self-discipline is an important success factor for children. The ability to give up momentary gain in favor of future rewards determines the future of destiny.

Never buy at once

Let's begin by forming healthy habits. We want to teach children to think about every purchase and not give in to momentary desires.

Most children's purchases are spontaneous: they see, want, and buy. Children hang out near shelves of toys and start begging: "Well buy it!" This behavior is annoying, but it's not the kids' fault.

Shelves of toys cause a surge of dopamine, a hormone that causes pleasure in the anticipation of buying. One of the functions of dopamine is to make a person do anything good. If a part of the brain thinks a toy is a good thing, it charges dopamine to communicate the impending joy to all the other departments.

The brain incites, "Look, what a toy! A toy is a good thing. That's what you need to be happy." Children experience the euphoria of anticipation of the purchase. After the purchase itself the euphoria disappears.

The function of dopamine is only to push a person to a good thing, and then let other parts of the brain take care of the rest. Therefore, the euphoria after the purchase does not last long: until the box is unpacked, the constructor is assembled, all the buttons are pressed or all the features of the new toy are explored.

Dopamine is always about anticipation: it uses happiness as bait, but does not give it away.


A bought toy soon ceases to please: there is nothing more to anticipate, it is clear and familiar. The brain needs a new dose of dopamine. Frequent ill-considered purchases provoke psychological addiction: the brain has to be constantly fed.

Let's outsmart the brain: let's not buy a toy on the same day, but suggest that the child put it on the wish list. The trick is that dopamine is produced even when we are planning a long-awaited purchase or dreaming about it. One might even suggest that anticipation is sweeter than the purchase itself.

A wish list teaches a child to prioritize and think through his or her choices. The brain is still wound up with anticipation of the purchase, the child is still itching to get a new toy, but now he analyzes his desires and subjects them to conscious criticism.

Gradually, the child will learn to manage his desires and separate the important from the secondary. In the meantime, let him enjoy a dopamine sandwich of anticipation and introspection.

Give you the opportunity to dispose of the money

We have taught children to keep wish lists, in which the child has to think about priorities. The next task is to introduce another degree of freedom: to allow the child to think not only about priorities, but also about the budget.

Often children spend their first pocket money on small things: gum, candy, stickers. As much as they got, that's how much they spent. So far, they know nothing about planning and self-control, because the parts of the brain necessary for this are not yet trained enough.

Invite your child to manage the allocated budget independently in the long run. If you give your child 250 rubles a week for pocket money, show them what they can buy if they don't spend it right away.

The child won't be able to make rational choices right away. Do not worry, in time he will learn. Help him: ask leading questions, offer options, but do not pressure and do not impose your opinion. Criticism will only discourage your child from sharing his thoughts and solutions.

It will help your child if your behavior also shows restraint and the ability to plan ahead. It is difficult for a boy to form self-control when he and his father are in line for the launch of the seventh iPhone. In families with a rational approach to shopping, children gradually learn self-control and long-term planning on their own.

To help make a plan

So the child has made a choice. It's time to move from wishful thinking to concrete action. We need a plan.

A good plan is like a map: we look at it and decide how to get to the end point quickly and with a minimum of cost. We think of options and sketch out a route.

Let's say your child dreams of roller skating. So that their dream doesn't get lost among many others, make a plan and turn it into a game. Draw a race track, glue a money envelope on it and hang it on the fridge to make it a more frequent eyesore. A red magnet turned into a race car. Every ruble set aside brings it closer to the cup. Look, there's a thousand rubles in the piggy bank - the car has already gone a quarter of the way.

With teenagers can be without cars. Let them write down their weekly income and expenses. So they will understand how much to save for the desired item and how to approach the moment of purchase.

Planning develops a useful habit in a child: It teaches them to set realistic goals, break them down into steps, and achieve them. Not every adult can do that.
 

Allow you to accumulate

We have come to the end. The child has a wish list, he has chosen a goal, made a plan, the main thing left is to accumulate. Let's give him useful tools.

Our wooden piggy banks are great for kids as their first piggy bank. They are very durable and fun.

Put your seed money in there and give your child a "pocket paycheck" every day or week. Let him save.

Preschoolers still find it hard to concentrate on long-term goals, so it's better if you don't have to save for a toy for more than a month. Your task now is to help your child understand that the toy you like can't always be bought right away. Sometimes it takes time to save up for it.

Encourage your child to do well, and don't scold them if something has gone wrong. For example, add another $1 to every $10 you put aside. If the child is not successful at saving, discuss what the problem is. Maybe the goal is too far from reality, or maybe he spends a lot on muffins and chocolates because the food at school isn't good and he's not getting enough to eat.

Also. Look at the child's talents, do not spare the money to develop them. Favorite business is the way to financial independence.

Remember
  1. Don't buy anything on demand. Buying should be deliberate and desirable.
  2. Allow your child to choose. Don't push.
  3. Help make a visual plan.
  4. Don't buy it yourself - offer to save.
  5. Have two envelopes for your child: one for spending and one for saving.
  6. Don't be afraid of mistakes and unsuccessful spending - that's the price of financial literacy.

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