As a parent, I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it can be for children to manage their money effectively over the summer holidays. There are so many more opportunities for them to spend when the days are long, school is a distant memory and time with friends is high on the agenda. The challenge for parents can be to make sure their summer holidays are filled with great memories, but without the difficult conversations that arise when they run out of money.
So how can children be encouraged to spend wisely and save during the long weeks of the summer holidays and what should we do as parents to help them learn sound money skills?
1. Encourage them to take advantage of the many free parks, attractions, museums and galleries that we have in the UK with their friends and family. Many of us remember the excitement of our first trip to the cinema with friends or a shopping spree as teenagers. They’re great fun, but encouraging our kids to enjoy free attractions can keep costs low whilst still offering a great day out. Here are just a few ideas for free things to do:
- The Natural History Museum has an exhibit on extinction running until September 2013
- The Science Museum
- Imperial War Museum North (Manchester) has a Horrible Histories 'Rotten Rationing’ show running until December
- Peak District National Park
- Eastside City Park in Birmingham — the city’s first new park for a century
2. Money can easily be frittered away on lots of little purchases over summer; the odd ice-cream, trip to McDonald's or the cinema all adds up. So why not encourage your children to decide on a bigger purchase they’d like to make towards the end of the summer and help them stick to their saving goals leading up to this? It’s a great way to teach children about money and the satisfaction they’ll have from successfully saving up for it will live long in the memory — and their chosen purchase will be long enjoyed after the ice cream vans and school holidays have disappeared.
3. Spare time in the holidays can often lead to bored children who resort to spending money to keep themselves entertained. Why not let children use their quieter days to fulfill chores and tasks around the home, such as mowing the lawn (provided they’re supervised and a great way for teenagers to earn money), cleaning the house or even some gardening? Using goHenry means that you can attribute certain cash rewards to these tasks, which means a cleaner house for you and your children learning money skills as they earn, save and spend. Find out more here —http://www.goHenry.co.uk
4. Volunteering isn’t just for adults. There are many projects aimed at getting young people into volunteering for charities and other organisations, such as Royal Voluntary Service and The Princes Trust. Both of these offer volunteering opportunities for those aged 14 and over, which can be a great way for children to use part of their summer holidays helping others.
Whilst the summer holidays can present some challenges in helping children not to overspend, there are lots of ways they can be remembered as fun times that don’t break the bank.
Image of Natural History Museum — Courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/4411057/Dinosaur-dung-stolen-from-Natural-History-Museum.html