There is no doubt that the changes a child goes through between the ages of eight and 11 can be dramatic, which in turn can affect their school life and education.
In my experience, younger children are often not very aware of what they or their friends have in terms of toys and belongings. But interestingly, as a child begins preparing for secondary school, things really begin to change — suddenly having the same as their friends; not being different becomes vital.
A concern that most parents share is that their child is not as mature as their friends or that other parents are busy giving more to their children than they are. I am certainly no exception here. Yet the important thing to realise is that this worry taps into a parent’s sense of confidence and that age old fear of being different; the very same worry that your children are wrestling with!
What I find is, rather than worrying about whether you are giving your child enough, and giving into their pressure, you should guide your children through this stage. It’s your role as a parent to help them realise the value of the things they want. So, if your child wants to have the latest Xbox game or Claire’s bracelets, instead of getting it for them, tell them to find out how much it costs. Then you can sit with them to work out how they will be able to afford it. What you will find is that rather than the pressure being on you to find the money, your child becomes responsible for managing their money so as to get what they want.
It seems there is increasing support for money lessons to be introduced into schools which will help this process of managing money. But this needs to be supported at home as well. Tools that can help kids easily see how to save for the item they want and make the process more visible and engaging are vital. I believe this is the only way to teach children about money and link this to the material belongings they want.
The outcome is that together, you work out what’s really important to your child, and rather than just buying an item, you have a plan to work towards what they want. Ultimately, this will give the item more value in the child’s eye and have taught them some very important life lessons.