SUPERMARKET TANTRUMS

Throwing money at kids promotes financial illiteracy

Children should work for rewards at early age by doing simple age-appropriate tasks

In Summary

• They should be taught to work for money and use it responsibly by giving them easy age-appropriate tasks at home and giving them a token as 'payment'. 

• Giving children money every time they make a scene will teach them that throwing a tantrum will earn them what they want. 

Mother talks down a child demanding an item at a store.
RESPONSIBILITY: Mother talks down a child demanding an item at a store.
Image: COURTESY/TODAY SHOW

Earlier this week I witnessed a spectacle of some sort. I was in supermarket when a young girl aged about four created a scene that attracted the attention of both shoppers and staff.

The girl, in the company of her mother and aunt, was crying out  dramatically demanding a bicycle she had spotted in the supermarket. The mother tried to tone her down but the more she tried the more the little one became uncontrollable.

Embarrassed, she left the supermarket with the wailing girl leaving behind their aunt to pay for the shopping as she deals with the thorny emergency away from the glare of the curious onlookers. 

Many parents can relate to this incident.

Parents need to expose their children to financial literacy at an early age. Children should be made to understand the basics of work, investment, income, expenditure, debt, interest, saving and giving.

In a language and examples they best understand, the little ones should be informed of the finite nature of financial resources and the need to budget and prioritise needs over wants. They should be taught to work for money and use it responsibly by giving them easy age-appropriate tasks at home and giving them a token as 'payment'. 

Not to subject them to child labour, which is illegal, but giving children money every time they make a scene will teach them that throwing a tantrum will earn them what they want every time. They will learn responsibility financially and not to always expect free things. 

Take a quick test to see where you are with your child’s money skills: Do they have a bank account or other savings plan in their name? Do they have a financial goal for the year? Do they perform tasks at home or neighbourhood that earn them a financial reward? Do they perform volunteer community service? If yes, keep it up, if not, start today. 

 

South Eastern Kenya University