It is amazing what mimics children are. Even as babies, they learn to smile and say their first words from our example. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our children’s money management will generally reflect our behavior. From Day One we are teaching our children our attitudes about money through our actions—as well as through the influences we allow in their lives.
Toys teach lessons, too. As parents, we are the teacher who will most impact our child’s life. But watch out for interlopers—such as toys and advertisements—that will try to teach our children bad money habits.
Years ago, I was in our basement with my girls and spied two “Shopping Barbie” dolls. Each doll came with all the shopping essentials, including a Barbie-size credit card. It was a tiny—but very realistic—MasterCard. Each time Barbie swiped her card through the cash register, you would hear: “Cha-ching. Credit approved.” (I guess credit cards are never rejected in Barbie’s world.) It still gives me chills thinking about the message this “shop til you drop” doll portrayed. I used one of these Barbies in a keynote I did a few years ago to make the point that marketers aren’t waiting to reach our kids with a message about spending, demonstrating how essential it is that parents begin a conversation about money early so the right message gets through.
Let me know if this message resonates with you and your family too.
Have a great weekend!