The art of choosing wisely comes from experience

From a very young age, and for their entire lives, children have to contend with the abundance made possible by today's consumer society.

For adults, shopping is usually an act that requires some reflection: Is this the right product? Is it a good buy? Is the price fair? Can I afford it? There can be so many things to consider. Asking these kinds of questions is not something that comes naturally to children however.

That's why it is never too soon to start exposing them to the concept of money and giving them chance to hone their decision making skills.

Practising free choice and collective bargaining

Free choice means putting decision-making power in the child's hands, for example, by letting them decide for themselves how to use the $25 grandma gave them.

Acting as an advisor, the parent helps the child think it through and weigh the pros and cons of their plans: Do you have something to save up for? Is there an activity you want to do or an item you want to buy? If you buy it, will you have enough money left over to do the activity? Parents facilitate the decision-making process, yes, but they should not influence the child's ultimate decision.

Collective bargaining means putting decision-making power in the hands of several people (siblings or the whole family). Those involved must decide as a group what to do, for example, with the $25 grandma gave the family as a gift.

Each group member is supposed to defend their idea, make their case and take the other parties' arguments into consideration. The goal is to come to a consensus about the final decision.

Little decisions will turn into big decisions

Trying out free choice and collective bargaining can help reveal the limitations that inform our choices. The experience can help children become more self-reliant and take accountability and responsibility for their decisions. There's no age limit to start giving it a go, but the process should always reflect the child's capabilities. To learn more, see 6 great reasons to talk to kids about money.

To do with children

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