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How to teach your kids about longer-term goals

February 1, 2020 • Momcents

Written by Momcent's Mom, Krista 

So my kids got a few gift cards for Christmas. 

It’s funny to see how they all wanted to use them.  Ty put his in his wallet for safekeeping to use when he needed them.  Jack gave me his to keep safe and will most likely forget about them until I remind him that I have them.  

Then there’s Ella.  She came home from my Aunt’s house on Christmas day and quickly started searching Amazon to see what she could spend her Amazon gift card on.  She literally just got done opening about 15 gifts - some new clothes, toys, games, etc. and she was immediately looking for something more.  Did she NEED anything?  No way!  But she acted like this gift card was burning a hole in her pocket.  She “needed” to find something to spend it on NOW!  

I used this as a teaching moment. I asked her to name all the gifts she got that very day. She had so many new things to play with and use. She had origami to make. Songs to sing on her new microphone. Pictures to take on her new camera.  

Then I asked her what happens if come March she wants a new toy and her gift card was gone. I encouraged her to save it until she really, really wanted something and to at least play with all of her new toys first. Just like saving money is important to teach kids, the same goes for gift cards. 

Jack got 2 Target gift cards for his birthday in August and - unlike Ella ever would - totally forgot about them. I mentioned them to him recently when he wanted a new basketball. Because he didn’t spend them right away on his birthday when he already had many new gifts, he had it available when he really wanted something. I'm hoping to teach Ella the same thing; to save for the future when we really want or need something and not spending just to spend.  An important lesson for all of us.  I mean, who doesn’t love coming across a gift card when they really need or want something? It’s worth the wait. Just don’t forget you have them. Unless you're Jack, his Mama will remind him - hah!

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