I stumbled onto this: 10 Lessons to Teach Your Kids About Money, which advocates that kids should be taught the value of money, along with a few suggestions to practise the habit of budgeting.
As a reader commented, these seem to be more applicable to older kids; and, at least to me- school going kids with canteens in their schools.
It didn’t stop me from applying it to myself & Caitlin though. I am already teaching her the concept of scarcity, using water as the “commodity”. This started when she was watching Thomas & Friends, where one of the engines (Okay we don’t watch it enough to know the characters yet!) was all grimey but there was no water left to clean it. I extrapolated this & applied it closer to home, citing example-implications of no-water on familiar things to her: Caitlin without clean clothes, Daddee can’t shower, no water to drink, etc. Since then, the first few times she was taking too long washing her hands at the sink, I told her to hurry & not to waste water. She would heed it & volunteer the Thomas example.
These days when I have to do a quick grocery run with Caitlin, she is the one handing over the cash at the checkout & (clumsily with her small hands) receiving the change. While I am pretty certain she doesn’t yet know the concept of big-notes = groceries + smaller denominations, I think she gets that things are not free, that something has to be exchanged for these (or any) goods.
I was chatting about this with a fellow daddy, the same chopsticks entrepreneur friend. While he is younger than I, his little girl is a year older than Caitlin, & is himself the eldest of 3 (along with all the traits of being an older child). Since he is already doing well in his ventures, I would be keen to see how he intends to further “train” this little girl in terms of money & budgeting.
I am aware, however, that there seems to be a blur line- that Caitlin could start getting confused between being wise & being generous & being selfish. We are constantly telling her not to be selfish & to share- her toys, her snacks, her treats. But these are things that are already purchased, whereas one should be taught to be wise at point of purchase- to be wise with money itself… sounds like I am confusing myself!
At the core, she does seem to be a generous character. Hopefully she is not going to be generous with her budget just to herself like her Daddee has been!
PS: I forgot to mention this. During a drinks session with an ex-boss, he mentioned something that made a whole heck of sense. We live in a society so obsessed with academic achievements that we seem to have forgotten the whole reason for this survival tool / skill (after all, good academic achievement supposedly leads to a good job & thus a high pay).
He said he doesn’t teach / urge his kids to get a good education or good grades. Instead, he urges his kids to look for ways to make more money.