Delaying gratification is generally putting off what we want today for more financial security in the future, is no doubt challenging. Not only for kids, but many adults have yet to master it.Yet, delaying certain purchases and instead saving money is essential to achieving financial goals.
Learning how to delay gratification isn’t easy until we’re adults. As we’ve made a few mistakes like gotten into credit card debt or are caught with no emergency fund so what better time to learn this skill than when you’re young and the stakes are low. Even beyond saving money a research shows the ability to delay gratification improves many facets of our lives.
Fortunately, delayed gratification can be taught.
So what’s a parent to do if they have a kid who can’t sit still for more than a minute, or would most certainly eat that first meal without a second thought. Here are some of the ways parents can help teach kids how to delay gratification
Start with Small ways: Parents can encourage kids to self-regulate or delay gratification in small ways. Examples include waiting patiently for lunch rather than having a snack or teaching kids to wait before speaking instead of interrupting a conversation.
- Giving kids their own money:Once they’re old enough to handle money, give kids some of their own money to practice with and let kids know they’re now responsible for certain expenses like toys, crafts, books or when they’re older car insurance and clothes
- Not too little allowance and not too much:The amount of allowance you give kids matters and might require some tweaking as kids grow as we need to make kids have just enough money so they can reasonably reach their savings goals but not too much that they’re flush with cash and they’ll be faced with tough buying decisions such as should I buy this cheap car toy and that’s right in front of me or get closer to my savings goal of a three-speed bike.
So even though it’s challenging, painful, and sometimes embarrassing to see kids wrestle with their purchasing decisions, we’ll keep at it again, and again and again. Until the lesson sticks and they understand why putting off an impulse today pays rewards in the future.