No matter what you do for a living or how much you earn, the pandemic has probably affected your household financially. Almost no family is immune to financial difficulties, and very few have emerged from the pandemic unscathed. In fact, many people are still feeling the impact.
If you’re having a tough time making ends meet, you may think it’s best to keep it a secret from your kids in order to protect them. However, children have this amazing ability to pick up on the tension straining your household, and it can take a toll on them.
Both you and your kids will be better off if the financial struggles you’re experiencing are addressed. Keeping them out of the loop may do more harm than good, working to feed their fears.
As uncomfortable as it may be to talk about money with your kids, the discussion can help them learn about the value of money and teach them skills that will be useful when they’re adults. Here’s how to approach the situation and get the conversation going.
First, you should share the reality of your family’s financial struggles. Be honest about the hardships your family is facing, but also communicate the steps you’re taking to get back on your feet so they know you have a plan and won’t get stressed out about it.
Make sure to deliver the information in bite-sized pieces. Keep it simple; they don’t need a lot of details. It’s important that they understand what you’re sharing with them.
Of course, kids will have questions. Take the time to listen to their concerns, reassure them, and nip some of their fears in the bud, such as a young kid worried about becoming homeless because their father lost his job.
The money talk is also a great opportunity to explain the costs of household expenses so they see why it’s necessary to cut back on some things. Discuss the difference between wants and needs, which is a lesson your kids will carry with them into adulthood as they practice making their own budgets.
Even after the whole money talk, involve your children in your financial plans. They may share some potential solutions, whether it’s through brainstorming ideas on how to save money or contributing financially themselves.