On a family holiday in US recently, I noticed my sister-in-law engaging her children in money games. Each of her two kids earned themselves $20 as Rakhi allowance. A pre-schooler and a 4th grader then set out to making the best use of their moolah.
Let me add the money was not handed out easily, it was almost labor of love because the kids were made to sit for a small puja followed by an Indian meal (right till plates were empty) and then finishing up some study time. It also came with a rider that screen time, bad behavior, sibling fights will lead to deductions from this amount. Must I add, this was the best possible outcome since we had the calmest kids in company for one whole day.
Now comes the part which pleasantly surprised me. The kids accompanied us to a nearby mall. I left the kids with their mom for their shopping while I decided to lose my way in Macy’s. The disney store, play zone, toy shop were visited one after another.
A couple of hours later we met to grab a bite together and I saw nothing purchased. I was told, “Well, we are doing a recce”. Post eating, my shopping ensued and so did theirs. Atlast, I gave up after having scoured Sears, Dillard’s and a few other stores. I met the kids & mom to find major discussions about latest spiderman costume, pack of cards, barbie set, glitter colors. Soon the money was less for our boy here and loans were sought and sanctioned from sister, but not without conditions of her taking the favourite seat in car on way back home. Somehow plans changed and our man traded the costume with a copy of ‘Diary of a wimpy kid’. Now he was in surplus. Rakhi feeling finally dawned on him and he gifted his sister much sought glitter colors, saving the balance for piggy bank.
At this point, their money was far from over. But my realization had come on the importance and ways to giving children an early start to money habits.