The Bank of Mum and Dad

The average cost of raising one child in the UK is around £230,000. That’s a pretty eye watering figure. Now double it because we have twins, and add another three as my husband also has three children from a previous marriage. That’s a lot of money we need to earn!

Raising children is undoubtedly expensive. From babies up to adulthood, the costs you have to figure into the equation range from nappies to school uniforms, educational resources, trips and of course ‘fun money’ for your kids to have a social life, as well as the latest clothes and ‘must have’ gadgets.

Luckily my twins are just five years old so they don’t tend to ask my husband and I for money unless they’re playing shop, but I know the time will come when they will start to ask for money.

I guess in some ways It’s kind of already started. If we go to the shop, they’ll ask if they can buy a magazine. Sometimes, if we’re at home they’ll say, “Can we go somewhere and buy something?”

Ah, how the young mind works! They don’t know where they want to go or what they want to buy, but they know they want to go somewhere and buy something!

So, how do we teach our children about the value of money and enlighten them that money really doesn’t grow on trees?

In all fairness our five year old twins do know where mummy and daddy get their money from. As R said the other day ‘Mummy and Daddy have to go to work and earn money’. Well done young one!

I’ve played a few games with my girls about money. My favourite involved Lego. I got two Lego boards and made a Lego wall around the edge to represent a bank account. I filled it with coins and gave one board each to the girls. If they wanted to buy something they had to take money out of their ‘bank accounts’. When they ran out of money, I asked them how they were going to get more money.

We need a job they said. So I gave them silly jobs like jumping on the sofa ten times, collecting the books from the floor and putting them on the bookshelf etc. Once they’d completed their jobs, I gave the money they’d earned.

Of course this was an easy way to show them how money is earned, but now that our girls are five years, my husband suggested giving them some pocket money each week.

We’ve decided to give them £1 a week. Now obviously £1 a week will mean it’ll take them a while to save up for just one magazine, so we’ve decided that if they ask for a magazine etc. then we can ask them if they have any money to contribute towards it. I think it this is a great first step into teaching our children how to manage money.

What do you think? Do you give your children pocket money?

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