A visit from the Tooth Fairy, putting the first coin in the piggy bank and using the hard-saved money on a long-felt wish. Your child will experience the flow of money on several occasions and you will experience an increasing number of money-related questions.
Here are some tips on how to handle the “are we rich?” and other questions related to your financial situation. We hope that this will help you get the most out of the learning experience for you and your child.
1. Don’t just wait around for the question to take you aback; don’t be afraid to take the first jump into the conversation. Your child may show an interest in the topic.
2. Be prepared for when the question comes. Remember that children ask questions out of neutral and healthy curiosity.
“So take yourself back to those moments when a parent could have enlightened you about money but didn’t. Or when they were whispering so you couldn’t hear. How did that make you feel?” Ron Lieber, author of ‘The Opposite of Spoiled’, 2015
3. Never let a question go unanswered. Answer them all in a positive, constructive and educative manner. To understand your child’s questions better, ask questions yourself. Some examples could be “why are you asking?” and “what does it mean to be ‘rich’?”
4. Make tangible examples when explaining, preferably something relatable to the child’s world. This could be examples from the child’s school or favourite TV shows. It may be easier for your child to understand the concept of being ‘rich’ if you compare with neighbours, friends or other places in the world.
5. Include your child in daily activities such as grocery shopping: Let the child pay with the cash or credit card and explain the process along the way – this also gives them a sense of the value of money and takes the conversation beyond ‘“are we rich?”. For inspiration, see our earlier column on how to use roleplay to enhance money skills.
Hopefully, these 5 tips will make the situation less uncomfortable for you, and instead make way for some great future conversations and learning experiences for you and your child.