Raising children who know the value of the dollar doesn’t just happen. It takes a very intentional and discerning adult to help mold a child in the area of finances. Every parent wants their children to know how to wisely handle and manage money. But the truth is that lessons taught on finances are best if they’re taught early, reinforced frequently and done consistantly in a child’s young life.
The concepts of stewardship are the same for adults or children. The main difference in teaching stewardship in children is to keep it simple. Keep the concepts simple. Keep the explanations simple. Talking about what God would like to see us do with our money is key to helping children understand money management at very early ages.
Money management can be broken down into four areas. Looking for teachable moments is key to reinforcing the following steps when children recieve or earn money. Making sure to discuss these steps with kids whenever they recieve money is a great way to put into practice the concepts of money management.
The first priority in money management is to tithe some of what has been earned. The tithe is traditionally ten percent. Giving this ‘first fruit’, as the Bible calls it, is crucial to financial blessing. Having the child physically put their ten percent in the offering at their church teaches that we are to give our first portion to God to help support the church and its ministries. This principle needs to begin at the earliest ages and will ensure a lifetime of Godly stewardship.
Next, we need to train our children to save some of what they have. Saving is another fundamental principle that helps kids put away something for a future need or time. This portion can be negociated between parent and child, and can change as they get older or have a desired item they are saving up for. Saving is a good lesson in discipline and perseverance, as some things we must wait to purchase or may need for a future time. Each child having their own savings account is a safe place in which to put their savings portions until a time comes to withdraw or transfer to another savings vehicle.
Giving some of what is earned is an excellent way to show our Christian love. Helping our young ones to look for needs of others around them is a trait that will bless them throughout their lifetime. We don’t need to look far to hear of needs in ministries or in the lives of others. The concept of giving of our money hits right at the heart and will make a lasting impression on those who practice it.
For most, spending some of what is earned is usually the easiest thing to do with our money. Most of us have no trouble thinking of things to spend our money on. So usually parents need to help the child restrain themselves in this area until a firm maturity develops where the child can truly control himself. Spending on ourselves can be necessary and pleasurable but must also be held in check, making sure that self control is practiced and the other areas of stewardship are being strickly adhered to as well.
Modeling stewardship coupled with a child’s hands-on application of the four concepts of tithe some, save come, give some and spend some, will help to raise a child with a firm financial foundation. If these four areas are dealt with consistently, a child will grow to apply these stewardhip concepts for life.