Introducing chores in your home from an early age encourages kids to learn the value of money. Constantly buying things on impulse for children can give them a false impression that money is unlimited. Simple chores enable kids to make the connection that money is earned by working.
Our education around money in our youth pays off: New Zealanders are the fifth-highest ranked country for financial literacy, according to the OECD/INFE International Survey of Financial Literacy Competencies. But as every parent knows too well, sometimes it can be a struggle to ignite the motivation in kids to earn. Canstar has compiled a few ways to make helping around the house fun.
For little ones
- Preparing and cooking food
Young children love helping in the kitchen where they can. Peeling, chopping, mixing – kids are more than capable of aiding the making of their snacks and meals. Recipes are also a great way to introduce science concepts, like explaining why food changes with temperature, and maths, thorough measuring and counting. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that developing cooking skills when you’re young can have long-term benefits for health and nutrition. Doing the clean-up after a meal with plenty of bubbles in the sink is always a winner, too.
- Watering the garden
A healthy dose of fresh air and feet in the soil are beneficial for anyone, but particularly children. Get kids involved in watering your plants, let them get their togs on and take charge of the hose. Toddlers especially find plenty of joy in pottering about the garden with a watering can.
- Putting washing on
Children are often unexpectedly enthusiastic about helping with laundry. Get them to fill up the washing machine, press the buttons and help hang it out to dry.
- Dusting and wiping
Kids want to participate when a chore looks like fun. When you’re vacuuming, give them a feather duster or a damp cloth and let them run rampage on your surfaces. Giving them the power of a squirt bottle takes the task to a whole new level. If you’re worried about chemicals in cleaning products around kids, you can always make a DIY one by filling a bottle with a cup of water, ¼ cup of white vinegar and some essential oil.
Tweens to teens: chores they’ll thank you for
- Doing their own laundry
Encourage older children to take charge of the washing in your family. It will come in handy later in life when they move out and can handle laundry like a pro. You’d be surprised how many young people move out of home only to realise they haven’t practised basic tasks, such as doing laundry for themselves.
- Mowing lawns and gardening
Another great set of skills to have in life at any age is how to take care of lawns and the basics of growing a veggie garden. If you have the space, consider a planting project with your children and let them take charge of growing, caring for and harvesting the produce.
- Cooking dinners and making lunches
The ability to cook a variety of meals confidently is a massive advantage for young adults when they leave home. Getting into the habit of preparing lunches each day before school is also a good habit to cement early, and it’ll save money in the long run.
There’s always the question of how much pocket money is the correct amount? It’s important to know the amount of pocket money earned is completely up to your family and what works best for you. Spending pocket money is a big motivator for children, so allow them to make their own choices about spending it. You’ll probably find they’ll be more cautious about how they choose to spend it once they know how long it took to earn.
Open a bank account for your child
Saving has huge benefits for kids by giving them choices and freedom. The sooner you open a bank account for your child, the sooner managing money will become part of their everyday life. Make sure you compare junior and youth bank accounts, so you ensure you’re getting a competitive rate and avoid paying excessive fees.
Kids savings accounts generally offer reasonable and competitive interest rates, but they can often earn a higher bonus interest rate if they make regular deposits. With a bit of pocket money, these accounts can encourage good savings habits.
Involve your child in the process of setting up an account. We can’t expect kids to be financially successful if we treat money as a taboo topic. Even having conversations like getting them to identify whether they see themselves as a spender or saver is a good way to start. Over time other topics like budgeting and goal setting can be introduced. Don’t forget kids can also be signed up to Kiwisaver as early as you like, too.