Kids and Holiday Shopping: The Season of Giving and Learning

The holiday season is upon us, a time of joy, celebration, and the spirit of giving. As parents, it’s a beautiful opportunity to create lasting memories with our children and teach them valuable life lessons, especially regarding money management and responsible spending. We all want the next generation to be loving and giving, along with being knowledgeable and wise. 

Let’s explore how to help our kids think of others while building solid money habits during the holiday season.

The Importance of Teaching Kids About Money

Financial education is a gift that keeps on giving. Kids need to understand money is not good or evil in and of itself, but that it needs to be respected. It is necessary and can be used for many good things in life. When we teach our children about money from a young age, we equip them with essential skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, instilling financial literacy in kids can lead to a more secure financial future. 
Let’s prepare our children for a more prosperous future by having more open and honest conversations about money. 


Age-Appropriate Conversations

Money conversations are vital, but at what age? Money habits usually start between the ages of three and seven. So, the sooner you begin making kids aware of what money is and how to handle it, the better. Every child is unique, and their understanding of money varies with age and maturity. Start by tailoring your financial discussions to your child’s level of comprehension. Begin with the basics: What is money, and how does it work? As your child grows, delve into more complex concepts like saving, spending, and sharing. Use visual aids, money games, and actual experience to drive home what you are teaching.

  • Use role plays. Playing shops at home with pretend money is a great way to introduce your child to money, paying for things, and getting familiar with the process of buying items.

  • Play board games. Many board games involve money and spending. They’re an excellent way for kids to make money decisions safely.

  • When your child’s older, you may decide to give them pocket money. This is an effective way for them to learn to manage their finances.


Holiday Budgeting for Kids

The holiday season often involves shopping for gifts and treats, making it an ideal time to introduce budgeting. Sit down as a family and create a holiday spending plan. Emphasize the importance of setting priorities and making choices. Have them think about who they want to buy for and what they think would be a great gift, and then look at how to make that happen. 

You could offer opportunities for your child to earn extra money. They could do some house chores such as running the vacuum cleaner, weeding the garden, watering the plants, etc. By involving your kids in the budgeting process, you’re helping them develop financial responsibility.


Involving Kids in Holiday Shopping

Take your kids along when you go holiday shopping. Encourage them to participate in gift selection, keeping in mind the budget you’ve set. Teach them to compare prices and find the best deals, instilling the value of making informed choices.

  • Let your kids handle money. You could get your child to give the money to the shop assistant and teach them good habits such as waiting for and checking the change.

  • If using a credit card/debit card, make sure your child checks the receipt and the balance on the account.

Real-life scenarios are excellent teaching opportunities. Allow your kids to make financial decisions, even if they make mistakes along the way. Learning from these experiences is a crucial part of building financial responsibility. Make money conversations a regular part of your family’s life, not just reserved for the holiday season.

Savings and Giving: Two Sides of the Coin

Teaching your children to save money for future goals is an invaluable lesson. Encourage them to give some holiday funds to charity, fostering empathy and a sense of community. This teaches them that money isn’t just for personal gain but also for helping others.

  • Teach your child the value of waiting for something. It will teach them delayed gratification and appreciation.

  • A visual reminder of money accruing can be helpful. For example, you could keep coins in a transparent jar and draw your child’s attention to how much they accumulate over time.

Online Shopping and Cybersecurity

In today’s digital age, online shopping is a great way to buy gifts. It can save money and time, but it can also be risky. Discuss the risks and responsibilities associated with online shopping. Teach your kids about online security, the importance of protecting personal information, and how to avoid scams. Setting clear rules and boundaries for online shopping activities is crucial.

Post-Holiday Reflection and Learning

After the holiday season:

  • Take the time to go over the financial choices made.
  • Engage your children in discussions about what went well and where they could improve.
  • Set financial goals for the upcoming year and explain how they relate to money management. 

Building Solid Money Habits for Life

Adults can play a significant role in shaping our children’s financial futures. The holiday season is not just about indulgence and extravagance; it’s a prime opportunity to teach them valuable money management skills. By involving them in holiday shopping, setting boundaries, and fostering a sense of responsibility, we help them build a strong foundation for a financially responsible future. 

Remember, the lessons you teach during the holiday season can impact their financial habits and attitudes for years to come. So, embrace this holiday season as a time for giving, teaching, learning, and growing together as a family. At AODFCU, we are passionate about the next generation, so please reach out to us with any questions or more ideas. Reach out to us with any questions.


For more information, visit MyCreditUnion.gov

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