Elementary, My Dear
Elementary kids aged 8–12 are prime for learning money skills! They are eager to learn, open-minded and willing to readily engage. They have not yet had the time to make any major mistakes but they can understand the concept of consequence. This is the perfect age to ramp up the money learning.
Has your child ever bought something and then had buyer’s remorse? Or conversely, have they ever bought something and been so ecstatic with their purchase they wanted to tell everyone… including grandma, grandpa, the neighbour and the family pet?
It is important for kids to have feelings about purchases and it’s equally important to recognize and understand those feelings. It can be as simple as saying “I have had the same reaction to some of my purchases, tell me why you are feeling this way about your buy? What did you learn from this experience? Is it something you want to repeat?” No purchase is a bad purchase at this age, it’s an opportunity for learning.
One of my kids had a serious case of buyer’s remorse when he bought a video game that fell victim to the 2.0 version within a month. There was nothing he could do. He couldn’t return it and he couldn’t sell it. All he could do was play it and pretend he wasn’t missing out. I felt bad… he had spent all his savings on this game and was pretty much obsolete 3 weeks later. I thought about ways to make him feel better, maybe reimburse him? BUT… I stopped myself. This was a great lesson in saving and spending and one he remembered. The experience turned out to be a great gift, one he learned on his own and not by my meddling or helicopter guidance.
Encourage them to save and let them spend. Resist the urge to control their decisions because you know better. They understand consequences and the best lesson you can teach them is to let them “feel” their purchases, the good ones and the bad ones.