Many parents would never consider asking their ten-year-old child to participate in making important family decisions. It just doesn’t make sense. However, involving them in certain decisions is an opportunity to teach them life lessons, and you don’t have to give up control to do it.
Some decisions you can involve your kids in are:
- Planning your family vacation. Your kids might want to go to the moon while you want to visit Costa Rica. If you don’t want to let them choose the destination, you can let them plan some of the activities. For ideas, visit these family travel blogs to find out what other families are doing on their adventures.
- Buying a new family car. Kids don’t understand the nuances of buying a car, but you can teach them how to find what they’re looking for by involving them in the process. Provide them with a list of features you’re looking for, and give them a list of how certain models rank. Ask them to compare features to eliminate options that aren’t a match.
- Adopting a family pet. It’s fun to surprise kids with a family pet, but there’s something more special about letting your kids choose. Just like human relationships, some animals will bond more with your kids than others. Give your kids a chance to make that connection and decision.
Making financial decisions
If you’ve already implemented the three jar money saving system, your child won’t be a stranger to saving money. However, to take their experience with money a step further, get them involved in the family’s food budget.
Naturally, you wouldn’t want to give your child free reign over the family’s grocery list, but there are benefits to involving them in the process, at least where their food is concerned. They’ll learn how to plan ahead, interact with cashiers, and the first time they run out of their favorite snack, they’ll understand why it’s important not to eat everything at once.
Make it simple for younger kids
You can give older kids a full food budget to work with, but for younger kids, make it simple and limit their involvement to budgeting for their own snacks. For example, give your child a simple budget of $20 to buy snacks for the week. Don’t just give them the money and let them run wild in the store. Help them come up with a grocery list they need to stick to once they enter the store.
Ask them to make a list of five snacks they prefer. Remind them that fresh fruits and vegetables are cheaper than packaged snacks, and if they choose items like apples and peanut butter, they can buy more snacks.
Estimate the cost of each snack to the best of your ability, and help them come up with a final list that falls just under their budget to allow for taxes.
Giving your child the ability to budget their portion of the grocery trip can teach them several important lessons:
- How to find items on their list. Quiz them to see if they know where their items are in the store. If they don’t know, encourage them to ask a clerk for help. Then, let them navigate according to the clerk’s directions. You don’t need to do this for every item, but do this at least once so they know what to do when they need help.
- How to stick to a budget. If an item on their list is more expensive than they planned for, they’ll learn how to adjust their shopping list or choose not to buy a specific item.
- The reality of taxes. Your child will be surprised when the total they’re required to pay is more than the cost of their snacks. Nobody likes taxes, but they’re a reality. If your kids are old enough to understand, you could use this as an opportunity to explain why taxes are collected and how they’re used.
How to bargain and work out deals with other people. Say your oldest child eats all of their snacks because they didn’t buy enough to last for the week. This is an opportunity for them to learn how to bargain with other family members. As the parent, you can set up a structured set of rules for this exact scenario. For example, the child who ran out of snacks can offer to purchase someone else’s snacks. If that person is willing to sell them a snack, your child can use their allowance, or have the amount transferred to the other family member during the next grocery trip.
They won’t always make the best decisions, but it’s important for kids to make their own choices without interference.