Many of us are cutting back on household expenditures. We are doing this to save money and to budget the money we have more wisely. However, as we begin to do this the children of our households may begin to wonder why. Children are not immune to the fact that the economy is in bad shape. They do hear bits of the news. They hear the terms lay offs, foreclosures, firings, depression, etc. They hear other children talking and they hear us talking. With all of this talking, plus the sudden disappearance of little luxuries, they may become confused and even scared. That is why it is the duty of all parents to explain why the household is making cutback in terms that children will understand. Here are some simple ways to help you start these explanations.
Begin by remembering that some grown up conversations need to stay private. Children do not need to know about how you are struggling with the credit card payment this month. Keep conversations of this nature away from the dinner table and away from little ears. You should also avoid making the statement about how high your debt ratio is in front of your child, even if you are saying it in a joking manner.
However, do be honest with your children as much as you can when you can explain household cutbacks. Explain that prices are on the rise and it is everyone’s duty to learn to cutback a little. This will help the family save a little bit of money in case the car needs repaired or something of that nature arises. This is why we need to cutback a little.
Now suggest some ideas on how your family may cutback such as: renting less movies, eating out less, going to the movie theaters less and then ask the children for their ideas. Take their ideas seriously and then ask them about suggestions what any other cutbacks they think the family can make?
If the children want to help make money for the family after you explain household cutbacks, give each a chore that can help the family such as raking the leaves or allow them to contribute allowance money to pay for a treat for the family that has been chosen as a cutback such as paying for a movie rental.
What do you do if your financial situation is in such a shape that it looks like you may be losing your home? First, be honest with the children. Tell them that it is all right to be sad. Tell them that you are sad. Then remind that although losing the house is a tough ordeal, that it isn’t the worse thing on Earth. Remind them that you still have each other, that you still have your health and your friends. Remind them at the end of the day, this is what really matters.
Financial cutbacks and hardships are tough on all of us. They can be even harder on the youngest members of our families that do not understand what is happening. Try your best to help them understand what is happening in a way that reassures them that they are still safe and loved.