*How to Practice Independence with your Children Just in Time for the Holidays is a guest post. If you are interested in having your writing hosted on A Modern Mom’s Life, please visit my Guest Posting page.*
Every parent wants their children to achieve a certain level of independence. Whether you have tweens, teenagers or young children, they are never too young to learn how to be independent.
Being self-reliant and responsible becomes more important as the holidays approach. If you want to teach your children the important lessons of being self-sustainable and financially responsible, here are some ways to use the holidays to do just that.
Have Your Kids Set a Christmas Budget
We know that between all the travel, the gifts, and the decorations, the holidays can get expensive. In order for your kids to truly become financially independent, allow them the freedom of setting a budget for themselves.
Having your kids set a budget window will give them the opportunity to sort out money on their own and budget how much they want to spend versus how much they want to save. This will be helpful as they decide on what they’re going to give each person in their family, so they realize how important it is to search for the best deals possible.
Teach Them the Value of Money
While having your kids set a budget is an important method of saving, it’s only one of many that can be used to teach your kids the value of money.
Have you heard of the 1-1-1 method? If not, listen up! This is a savings method for children that encourages them to save, spend and give within earning a specific amount of money. The next time your child earns a specific amount of money, recommend the 1-1-1 savings method as a certain portion of funds will go towards savings, a certain amount can go towards spending, otherwise known as “fun money,” and a certain amount can go towards a charity of their choice. Have your kids do this – it will make them feel accomplished, responsible and giving all at once!
Have Them Create a List of Gift Ideas
Once your kids have established their budget, they’ll need to create a list of gift ideas for their family members. Do your best to leave it up to them to decide what they’re going to get.
If they’re having trouble coming up with ideas, give them suggestions of what interests each person in the family. If there’s a fashionista in the family, suggest the idea of gifting them with a gift card to an online consignment store. Perhaps there’s an avid reader in the family. Recommend books for your children to purchase, or a gift card to Barnes & Noble.
Giving them some suggestions will nudge them in the right direction and make them feel as if they’re independently coming up with their own gifting ideas.
A few gift guides to help you out:
- 7 Busy Mom Must Haves
- Gift Guide for Dancers (dos and don’ts)
- Gift Guide for Photographers
- Non-toy gift ideas for kids
Allow Them to Go Shopping “Alone”
If you want to teach your kids to be more independent, have them go on their Christmas shopping adventures alone. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean to have them shop at the mall alone if they’re too young to do so. Next time you make a family trip to the store or the mall, allow your kids to make some of their purchases alone.
Depending on your level of comfort, this may be just having them get into line by themselves or perhaps going over to the store next door to quickly buy something. Having them experience the action of checking out by themselves will teach them how to buy things themselves and how much cash they should have on hand if necessary.
Nora B. is a content creator based in San Francisco. When she’s not writing about parenting and lifestyle advice, she’s spending time with her family and dogs.
My girls have been doing some of these things for a few years now. We haven’t done a Christmas budget, but we do often talk about the value of items and purchasing based on need and usefulness more than want.
My daughters also spend their own money when purchasing gifts for others. They have had their own bank accounts for years. When they receive money as gifts they will often ask us to put it in the bank for them. Then when they are ready to purchase something, we transfer money from their account to ours and give them the cash.
How do you foster independence in your children? Share the ways you encourage your children to participate in holiday purchases and planning.
Financial literacy is so important – I think the ideas laid out above are wonderful ways to introduce both independence and financial literacy to our children.