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Shillings and cents through a child’s eyes

Are you confident about your financial habits enough to want your children to follow in your steps?

BY CAROLINE MWENDWA

As we drew nearer to the pay point pushing the cart forward in a local supermarket, my six-year-old grew even more restless, wondering why the cashier had to pick items one by one. ‘‘Why can’t she just push them all at once,” he wondered. But that was not even the problem, he was tired of waiting to get his chip of the chocolate that was tacked in the rubble of household items in the shopping cart, one which he had longed to savour from the minute I reluctantly allowed him to pick from the shelf. Then came the shocker, my debit card ran out of cash and I had to leave some of the items. Of course the chocolate did not make it to the basket and this left him so disillusioned. 

This gave an opportunity to teach him the value of the chocolate and the need to stick to a budget. His disillusionment was very instrumental in teaching him this vital lesson. Today, he can differentiate between a want and a need, and often saves money to buy what he might want the next time we visit the store, lest my card runs dry. 

More so, he does not pick items that are more expensive than his savings. His patience while saving, and the awareness that disillusionment happens when one is ill prepared, have helped him know the value of money, however little.

Savings culture

The modern day is awash with all manner of financial schemes most of which are geared towards aiding individuals to save up for future or for their children. The importance of these campaigns cannot be gainsaid considering the uncertainty of life and more so that of wealth. Despite efforts to secure the future for ourselves and our children, there sits a worry about our children’s awareness and knowledge of financial management. Every parent saving up for their children wonders if they will wisely make use of the savings and assets bequeathed to them, or otherwise. 

It’s said that children learn best from observing what their guardians/parents do under certain circumstances even more than what they are told they ought to do. This begs the question, are you confident about your financial habits enough to want your children to follow in your steps? Remember, the values you exhibit in your spending behaviour are slowly being ingrained in their minds and to them that is how money ought to be managed. 

Caroline Mwendwa is the Editor Management Magazine. Email: cmwendwa@kim.ac.ke

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