OK, we know. It's rough out there y'all---especially for parents. The financial impact of COVID-19 is undeniable, with homeschooling still a thing and more money being budgeted for home-cooked meals or delivery. When you're not juggling Zoom calls, mediating sibling squabbles, screaming "Stop wasting toilet paper," or side-eyeing progress reports from your child's online teacher, you're probably worried about how you're even going to manage yet another masked trip to the store to pay for that last bag of overpriced veggies or organic chips left on the shelf.
And don't get us started on the utterly depressing and total kill-joy of unemployment. For those who might have been part of a downsizing or layoff, it's gotten even rougher.
Parents, we feel your pain, and we're with you. What better time than now to get a little relief and teach your children the value of money via an expert. Tiffany "The Budgetnista" Aliche, a former preschool teacher who has helped thousands of adults reach their financial goals and get out of debt, is getting back to her roots. Through storytelling, Aliche's new book, Happy Birthday Mali More, showcases why early financial education is important.
"I thought it was time for parents and teachers to have a tool that they can bring into a classroom or their homes to teach financial education for children," Aliche said in an xoNecole interview. "Every book has questions and activities you can do to extend the financial lessons."
Courtesy of Tiffany Aliche
Aliche practiced things with her students that many parents can incorporate today while working from home and spending more time with their families. "The children would ask financial questions like whether I would buy them things or why they couldn't have certain things, so I started playing around with what would be age-appropriate financial education for children as young as three," she explained. "We would do things like create savings banks out of shoe boxes, and I started paying them Monopoly money for doing certain tasks in the classroom." She would also allow the children to buy items from a classroom store stocked with things she bought from Dollar Tree.
"I wanted to show them how money was used. We'd also do penny drives, where I could show them what it looked like to donate and be of service to the community. We'd add the pennies up every two weeks or so, and talk about the money we saved, what we would do with it, and who we would help."
Courtesy of Tiffany Aliche
Times are tough right now, but many are learning financial lessons that will have an impact far beyond the current crisis. By making money talks relatable and enjoyable, children can learn lessons today that can serve them even in adulthood. Taking the time to do activities or include your children in money decisions can be a necessary distraction from daily WFH pressures or even pose opportunities for bonding moments.
"Make it fun. When children are little, it's hard to retain information that's not really fun for them. [Don't make it] feel like a chore," Aliche advises.
"In my classroom, the kids were already doing jobs, so it was relevant to them. [They would know], OK, I have this job at school---I put away the blocks every day--but then they got paid pretend money to do so. Being paid made the lesson deeper. So now, when you go food shopping, you might say to your five-year-old, 'Let's talk about the budget for what you want. I know you have that cereal you like, so here's your budget for that.'"
And in today's stressful time of "Mommy can I have that," or "Ma, why can't we have an extra bowl of that?" practicing patience and consistent discipline is key. "If you say something one time, it doesn't guarantee that they're going to understand and know it," Aliche adds. "Consistently weave financial education into your daily life."
For more of Tiffany, follow her on Instagram.
Featured image by Shutterstock