10 Things to Teach Children Before Giving an Allowance

They come to you asking for the next new video gaming system. They want the toy they keep seeing on television commercials and all you can say is, “Children, I don't have the money right now maybe next time.” Why not say, “You can buy it. Save your money.” Teaching children about money doesn't have to be difficult.

One. Display all coins and dollar bills so that children can see and touch them.

Sometimes we are spending cash or using debit and credit cards so frequently that the children never see nor feel the money. Without seeing the money or lack thereof, how can they appreciate it? Show them what each coin represents. Let them experience feelings of disappointment when money runs out. Provide them with a history lesson. Share with children the different ways people use money including: collecting, saving, and investing it.

Two. Interview the children to find out what they already know about money.

Do they know how money is made? Where it comes from? What do they like most about money? What do they like least?

Three. Provide them with word problems.

Give out money problems and challenge them to find solutions. For instance, there is a pack of gum at one store for one price and the same pack of gum is on sale at another store, which one will they choose and why? If there's a set amount of money for them to spend on their favorite items, teach them how to budget.

Four. Point out sale signs and show them how to use coupons.

Familiarize children with the savings they can take advantage of when buying simple things like gum, a magazine, toys and other fun things. They will be glad to get change back from those large bills that mom and dad give!


Five. Purchase a fun-looking savings bank and/or cash register with play money.

Toys like these help further educate children on the value of money. Pretend like you are a customer and your child is a cashier. Ask questions about your purchase and explain to them what each dollar and coin represents.

Six. Take them to the bank with you and/or show them what a bank account looks like (preferably one you have set aside for them.)

When you are taking the time to show them where money goes when you receive it and how you allocate your dollars, you are teaching them once again that money is not meant to be wasted and that each dollar has a purpose.

Seven. Teach them how to shop around.


Show them how much money they stand to lose if they were to shop for the same toy elsewhere. Once children understand the concept of money, they will not want to lose money, but gain more of it. When you show them that they can find a favorite item elsewhere for a bargain, not only will they learn a thing or two, but they will remind you to shop around too in the future.

Eight. Play game about managing money.

Children love games; so when you present them with a fun way to manage money, they will be more likely to remember simple concepts and later teach others.

Nine. Borrow money from them.

Periodically ask them for money and watch their response. Offer to pay them extra from the trouble. Teach them the pros and cons of lending someone money.

Ten. Show them why it isn't a good idea to gamble hard-earned money on games you are least likely to win.

Scratch-offs on the ground, old raffle tickets, and other games that consumers rarely win will also be a good teaching tool for your children. Point out that this is all money wasted on the ground. Explain to them that more times people lose than win when gambling money. Provide examples of the many people who are poor as a result of gambling money; rather than saving it. Avoid focusing on those who won by chance.

Lastly, after you have showed your children the value of money, create an allowance system. Start off with simple tasks and small payments for tasks completed. Then gradually increase pay as tasks become more challenging for them. Post a sign somewhere within your home for all to see displaying what the tasks are and how much they will be paid when they perform them. Make them responsible for keeping track of the chores they have completed. The sign could look similar to a time sheet—a great way to prepare them for a job one day where they will have to keep track of their own work hours and breaks.

When you take the time to teach children the basics about spending and saving money, you will help them grow up to be responsible with their money.

By Nicholl McGuire

Make Your Child's Dream a Reality: Here's How

So your child wants to be the next president, entertainer, lawyer, doctor, firefighter or some other professional? What are you doing now to ensure that his or her dream is fulfilled? Oftentimes children will change their dreams, but there are always a few in the bunch that know what they want. How might you keep their dreams alive?

Ask questions and listen.
 
Children who really want something will nag you about it until they get it. Do you have a child that is annoying you about visiting a certain establishment or meeting someone who works in a specific industry? If so, you may want to follow up with a question like, "Why do you want to see him or her so bad? Do you really want to visit that building?" Keep a journal of the things your child says, so when he or she becomes older, you can remind him or her about his or her dreams. Ask specific questions to find out more about your son or daughter's dream. Find out if your child enjoys working with his or her hands, voice, feet, etc. Once you know what he or she likes to do, it will help you find out more about related professions based on your son or daughter's interests. If your child is old enough, have him or her take a questionnaire to determine exactly what is it that he or she likes to do if there is some uncertainty or if he or she seems to like to do too many things.
 
Collect information about your child's desired profession.
 
Purchase videos and instructional materials about topics related to your child's interest. From magazines to videos, take the information and make a game out of it. Question answer games will reinforce learning about the profession. Allow your child to also play a game of Show and Tell with what he or she has learned. Reward your child for his or her presentation.
 
Plan a trip to meet someone in the industry.
 
Maybe there is a relative or friend who wouldn't mind taking you and your child on a tour of their workplace. Call him or her and share your child's interest.
 
Seek classes in your local area.
 
Oftentimes there are special summer programs for children to help them become professionals one day. From acting classes to softball camps, find out what kind of classes are being offered in your area via the newspaper, Internet, local yellow pages, coffee shop, city office, school, and church bulletins. There are also many classes that are not advertised. So do ask others about children's programs as well.
 
Save money.
 
In order to make your child's dream become a reality, it will take money. So be sure you establish a savings plan that will go toward your child's future dream. Encourage other relatives to give to your child's fund; rather than buy them toys.
 
Mention what your child's desires are to the teacher at your next parent teacher conference or meeting with the school's counselor. Sometimes by getting a teacher or counselor involved in your child's future, you are reinforcing what it is that he or she wants to do. This person may know of some resources that can further help your child.
 
Share your child's dream only with relatives and friends that can help in some way.
Unfortunately, there are some relatives and friends that are negative and unsupportive about most things including parenting. Despite your child's enthusiasm about the family member who gave them their favorite toy, this person may not be so helpful about investing in your child's future. So be very selective who you talk to about your child's dreams and always address anything negative that they may say to your child.
 
Once you have started the task of building your child's dream, don't stop, even if he or she is becoming a bit tired of it. Rather, find other ways to keep your child interested. Your son or daughter may be more excited about his or her dream if he or she can see the dream carried out in a variety of ways. For instance, instead of becoming a veterinarian maybe they really want to work with animals in a circus, on a farm or somewhere else. It's still the same dream: to work with animals just in a way that might be less boring.
 
Sometimes parents can turn children away from dreams simply by becoming too involved. When you notice your child is beginning to act out or quite boldly says, "Mom this isn't about you!" Listen and back off. If your son or daughter needs anything, he or she knows how to find mom and dad.
A child will only give as much energy toward a dream as you allow. So if you choose to approach your child's dream half-heartedly with little or no support, your child may look to something else, then another thing, and still another thing until he or she wins your approval. Children do many things for attention sake, so give them the attention that they seek--be supportive.
 
By Nicholl McGuire

How to Know a Person Can’t Handle Watching Children

A relative, friend, acquaintance, or stranger, may have all told you, “When you need me, just call.” Moments might have come and gone when you may have wished you took them up on their offers, but your gut feeling just wouldn’t let you. What is it about certain people when it comes to your children, you just don’t feel comfortable visiting or leaving your children in their care? They may have children of their own, they may be grandparents, or maybe even your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, but the feeling in the pit of your belly just won’t go away when you have left your children with him or her, maybe it’s time you listen.
 
You have read or heard the reports of men and women who “snap out” on children. The story usually starts out that a trusted relative or partner was left to care for the newborn, toddler, or elementary-aged child and when the mother returned found that her child was murdered. The angry boyfriend or post partum mother couldn’t stand to hear the child’s cries, so he or she chokes the child, breaks some bones, or throws him or her against a wall. Family members and strangers are mortified, “how could someone do such a thing?” They ask. Well, how could they not? You see, there are people in this world that can’t tolerate certain sounds and are mentally incapable of caring for themselves in some aspects of their lives let alone having to care for a child. If you mix an undiagnosed depression, add it with some alcohol, and drugs what do you get?
 
What about a post-partum mother who can barely stand her own children, mixed with caring for someone else’s children, with little money, living in a crowded apartment, what do you get? Some people will scream, “No excuses.” Of course, there are no excuses in situations of murder, there are only facts. The fact is not everyone can handle a screaming child who wants nothing more than a nap, bottle or some attention, but a person not use to answering the calls of a child doesn’t seem to get it.
 
He or she is already overloaded with other issues going on in his or her mind and it just so happens that on one particular day he or she snaps and unfortunately the child was in the line of fire. If these parents had some idea what the caretaker’s mental state was before leaving the child with him or her, they would have never did it, so how does the parent step outside of his or her own immediate needs and look for signs that say, “Don’t leave your child with him or her, they may be prone to harming them?” The following tips will help you reach your own conclusion on whether you should be reconsidering who is currently watching your child, how to avoid a potential disastrous situation, and cancel your plans on that particular day or night and watch your own child.
 
One. Don’t ignore your innate God-given ability to foresee danger. Some people have this kind of intuition better than others. Sometimes those around us will speak to us about matters we can’t feel or see. When you know that your own mother couldn’t handle you when you were a child and her mother was worse, what is the likelihood that grandmother, your sister or brother from the same family just might not be able to deal with the pressure? Children are not going to sit still long enough for anyone to get too much done, and when they do consider it a blessing, so if you know that this person has a pattern of being impatient with children, do yourself and him or her a favor and don’t allow your child to visit unless you can stay with him or her no matter how much they say, “I can watch my niece…I’m good with boys.”
 
Two. Someone makes the statement, “You trust him with your child?” This really means, “I wouldn’t let him watch my child with a ten foot pole.” Evidently this person sees something about this person that you don’t see. Take their advice seriously and don’t take any chances.
 
Three. Impatience is a great sign to look for when trying to determine whether you want someone to watch your child. If you were to give your child a math book or activity book to take with him or her during a visit with a relative or friend, offering to watch him or her, how would he or she react when trying to teach the child how to solve a problem?
 
Four. The caretaker you have in mind has a history of losing his or her temper with children so you have heard. You have seen them in action or heard about their emotional outbursts and mood swings when it comes to children. They become increasingly angry when a child sits on their furniture, touch their treasured keepsakes, turns on their television, or runs through their home. 
 
Five. Dear old great grandmother or grandfather has been accident prone in recent years. Now if he or she can’t seem to keep something in his or her hands without dropping it to the floor, then why would you even think twice about him or her being responsible for lifting your child?
 
Six. Your relative or friend has older children in the home. Now as much as we would like to think that most older children will not do anything to harm a child or influence them in any way to do bad things, the reality is there are many who get a bit of enjoyment telling a child to do some things that would make any mother put her hands over her mouth in shock. If you know that this older child will be spending a great deal of time at the caretaker’s home unsupervised in the house with the little children, consider what your child will be exposed to: music videos, explicit music lyrics, overhearing telephone conversations containing bad language, seeing inappropriate content via the Internet, underage drinking, sex, drugs, etc.
 
Seven. A person who works from home is often preoccupied, a sports fan is spending a great deal of time in front of the television, and a hobbyist may be more concerned about his or her crafts then what is going on around him or her, if these people aren’t use to children and have been known to complain about how others deal with their children, what makes you think your children are any exception to the rule? You know how your children can be at home, you can discipline them in whatever way you want, and move things out of their way, but what precautions will this potential caretaker make and what does he or she have in their home that can keep your children busy? Most importantly, will they be able to sacrifice their time doing other than things to keep their eyes on your children?
 
Eight. Avoid allowing your toddler to be watched by a person who lives in an environment that is cluttered with fragile items, antiques, or other items that they treasure. Some collectors will lose their mind over the slightest dent, scratch, bump, or nick on any item. Although, he or she may really want to help you out, they may not be so understanding if your child breaks one of their priceless possessions. 
  
The best people that are more than capable of watching children are people who have experience babysitting children. They know how to answer the many calls of a crying child. They aren’t easily frustrated when the child doesn’t become still right away. They have their own set of outlets that keep their lives balanced between working with children and doing other things that provide them with a sense of peace. They usually have a belief system or religious faith. However, some caretakers may have experience working with children but don’t have personal issues under control. The obvious characteristics of a person with a personality disorder include: being easily angered, irritated, extremely quiet, impatient, visibly nervous, unbelievably bubbly to the point that they can’t seem to focus on a task and complete it, lies often, very forgetful, cries a lot or moody, as well as other related issues.
 
The key to look for in one who has a mental condition are patterns of some if not all behaviors. Some people who have been prescribed medications also tend to experience side effects that they haven’t got use to, so consider their reaction to the medication as well and how that might affect your children’s safety. There is usually someone around them who knows them well and will advise you that maybe it would be best you don’t leave your children alone with him or her. There are plenty of people with undiagnosed conditions that affect them both mentally and physically like women with severe PMS disorders or menopausal symptoms. There are also men who have their issues of andropause and work related stress that may involve heavy lifting which may contribute to pains that can often leave them moody. There are elderly people who face health ailments like arthritis and dementia. A person who is in pain and often shifting from one mood to the next is just not the best candidate to watch children alone.
 
Consider all of these tips in this article and don’t ignore the quiet voice within, the comments people have said to or around you, your gut feeling or someone else’s or complaints from your child regarding this person or people.

ABC Reading: Placing Education Before Everything Else

ABC Reading: Placing Education Before Everything Else
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