Children’s Checks & Balances
At this consumer-driven time of year, I felt it was time to give our kids a checkbook. No, not a real one, a play one. But I couldn’t locate the play checkbook that I KNOW I bought at some point, so I photocopied a page from my own check register.
Definitely not a page showing my millions coming and going. Instead, it was blank with a couple of fake entries written in by moi. I made another list of possible debits and credits that they needed to write into the correct columns: rent, car payment, groceries, insurance, gas, Starbucks paycheck (do you need college for that?), etc.
The results were predictable: willy-nilly numbers, even scattered haphazardly in some cases. While the entries should have totalled $37 at one point with all of the withdrawals, one of our teens gave herself an extra $6,000 or so. Another overlooked three out of seven entries, no doubt interrupted and distracted. Then there was the case of subtracting everything, even the Starbucks paycheck, because once a student got going in a single math operation, there was no turning back….
Maybe if you don’t need your financial statement completed by April 15th , or any other deadline for that matter….
Yet, the same child comes after me to loan him money when we’re out and about. I tried to reason with him a week or two ago.
“Listen, you knew we’d be visiting some interesting shops. You realize that the holidays are approaching. So why not carry a little cash with you? It helps to plan ahead and not have to depend on others….”
The same scenario presents itself time and again. I have a few professional hitchhikers in my home—borrowing looseleaf paper, words to their choir selections, and wristwatches when they break theirs. One day, I held forth about their constant forgetfulness and borrowing, telling them to all bring their own pencils and paper to our spelling test, the first event of the day.
Naturally, #3 borrowed from #1 only one minute after my beggar-mentality speech, in addition to neither of them having erasers on their pitiful pencils. Somehow, that spoke to me of financial disaster and ruin. Riding on someone else’s coattails summed up their no-doubt-dismal futures.
They say that children exposed to alcohol while in utero often have struggles figuring out time and money. Plus pencils, apparently. Hence, the checkbook exercise. But how will they ever show up to Starbucks on time for their jobs… if they’re confused by clocks?
At least now they can sit at home and balance their checkbooks. Or sharpen their pencils.
Do you have concerns about your children’s future prospects?
————–Tags: adoptive parenting blog, children's play checkbooks, explaining debits and credits, how to fill in a check register, kids who are overdependent on others, practical math for homeschoolers, teaching children to budget, teaching lifeskills to children, time money and FAS