Money Makes the World Go ‘Round…

Oh God. How on earth am I supposed to teach my 5-year old to handle money? Money Makes the  World Go ‘Round…

I don’t want him to end up a fool, a loose spender or otherwise just out for material self-gratification or even just a suspicious and mistrustful individual when it comes to money…I would like him to become a smart shopper, a cautious and practical spender, to make sound judgments on when and what to indulge himself –in something that’s worthy of his intelligence and hard-earned cash.

At his school this week they are holding a book fair, displayed in the school hall over a number of days. I am obviously not there with him during the day, and I only had some vague information as to when and how the teachers would let the children browse/buy if they wanted to. The leaflet said vouchers were available for purchase if desired but I decided to give him cash to start him on the road to understanding the value of money (we also give him a weekly allowance: 10 pence for every year of age every week until age 5, then it becomes £1 a week for every year of age until age 10, etc…).

On the morning of the start of the bookfair, knowing full well the enthusiasm Mr. Tooks has for children’s literature (which I avidly encourage), I sat down with him, and showed him the leaflet with the list of titles, some with pictures, and we looked through it together. He expressed interest, so I took out my wallet and pulled out a £5 note. (I wondered briefly if £5 was too much to give a 5-year old, or too little. How am I supposed to know? I don’t have any previous experience, other than the fact that I was five once. I’m trying all this out anyway right? He’s my tester!)

I took that and gave it to him, and told him it was £5 and showed him the number on the note, and explained that it was like 5 coins but instead of 5 coins it becomes a paper. I told him to put it in his jacket pocket where it would be safe, and that he had to take care of it and not lose it, because if he did then I wouldn’t be there to give him more. I also told him not to let any of his friends take it from him, and if he had any questions he could ask the class teacher.

I told him that he could have a look at the tables in the hall and see if there was anything he liked, and to look at the numbers on the stickers on the books- which were called prices- and see if there was anything with a 1, 2, 3, 4 written there (which corresponds to £1.99, £2.99, £3.99, £4.99), and if there was one of those that he liked, he could buy it with the £5 note he had. I also smiled and said that he might even be lucky enough to buy more than one book or just one book and still have some change left over! (To which he looked at me sideways and broke into a grin, somewhat like the one in Tom and Jerry, when Jerry gets a sneaky idea?)

I asked him to choose carefully and not just get anything just for the sake of getting. I asked him to think before buying, and if there was nothing he liked particularly, then he and I could go the bookstore in the city and he could choose something there instead.

It could be that I gave him too much information, or that he would surprise me…

How would you handle this?Image


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Common Sense Parenting for Healthy Happy Families in Saudi Arabia

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