The other day, as my toddler was throwing a tantrum, because she had to wait five seconds before I gave her a snack, I began thinking about what tremendous effort parenting a toddler takes. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I love my toddler. But you can’t reason with a two year old. Sometimes it feels as if you’re not teaching your toddler anything. You’re just managing behavior.
But nothing is further from the truth. Toddlerhood is a foundational time in a child’s life. The lessons you teach your toddler will set the stage for childhood and adulthood. And believe it or not, what you teach your toddler can set the foundation for good financial sense!
I know you’re scratching your head right now. You might be asking, “How can I possibly teach my toddler about personal finance? I’m just trying to get through the day!”
Believe me, I understand. But stay with me. The following are a few lessons you can teach your toddler that will pay dividends later on. Literally.
Back to my tantruming toddler…She wanted a snack. I was in the middle of doing something, and I told her to wait a minute. She threw herself on the ground and cried.
How many times do we see adults do the same thing? They want something, and they can’t have it right away. Instead of waiting patiently, they pull out a credit card to purchase what they want when they want it.
Delayed gratification is an important life lesson and one you can begin teaching very young children. By teaching toddlers to wait, even when they throw a huge tantrum, you are setting them up for success in an important area of life.
One of my favorite things to do with my toddler is clean the house. Yes, you read that correctly. My toddler cleans the house with me. We put away toys, books, and shoes, and she’s an enthusiastic helper. Sometimes her two year old efforts don’t measure up to my adult standards, but that’s OK. My toddler is learning to work hard and to enjoy the work she does.
So often it’s tempting to baby our children, to do everything for them. But what does that teach them? Entitlement! Instead, begin to teach them the importance of hard work at a young age, when they enjoy mimicking their parents.
If you teach a child to work as a toddler and praise their efforts, you will teach them to take pride in meaningful work. Again, that’s a lesson many adults don’t understand these days.
My toddler has a piggy bank. Actually, it’s a ladybug bank, but you get the picture. Sometimes I give her a coin or two to drop into her bank. Like most toddlers, she loves to drop coins into her little bank. She doesn’t understand the concept of saving money yet, but she understands that dropping money into her bank is a lot of fun.
By the time she understands what it means to save money, I’m hoping that she will associate fun with saving. Banks sometimes do the same things for kids. Our credit union ran a program where they’d let kids pick a small toy out of the prize box for every fifth deposit a child makes. And the bank had a good thing going. Saving money should be fun!
When you teach a toddler to regularly and joyfully save money, you’re shaping their attitude toward money later in life.
As difficult as parenting toddlers is, rest assured that the lessons you begin teaching them at 2 can be a huge asset for them at age 22. So when you’re having a bad day with your toddler, just remember that the effort you put into her life now will pay off later in life.
What are some of the things you teach or have taught your young children that pay big dividends later in life?
Photo by Paleontour.
If you like this article, please sign up for free weekly email updates.
I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
In accordance with FTC guidelines, I state that I have a financial relationship with companies mentioned in this website. This may include receiving access to free products and services for product and service reviews and giveaways.
Any references to third party products, rates, or websites are subject to change without notice. I do my best to maintain current information, but due to the rapidly changing environment, some information may have changed since it was published. Please do the appropriate research before participating in any third party offers.