Financial Skills Every Child Should Learn Before Leaving Home

Financial Skills Every Child Should Learn Before Leaving Home

We send our kids off to school daily where they learn everything from how to compose an accurate chemical equation to what year each ancient civilization collapsed. Our children effortlessly navigate the internet, confidently troubleshoot malfunctioning technology and speak a language all their own. But one area that continues to be an opportunity for improvement, generation after generation, is financial literacy. For various reasons (assuredly none intentional) we allow our young adults to leave the nest without the solid footing they need to confidently navigate the financial world they will soon enter. Many milestones of adulthood are paired with complex financial skills that our children may not fully understand. Going forward, we can right the wrong by making financial literacy as common and integrated as knowing their ABCs. Here are four financial skills that every child should learn before leaving home.

  1. A budget is a financial tool that helps you plan how to responsibly spend your money. Budgets also assist in creating financial security by clearly presenting your incoming and outgoing funds, which discourages impulse purchases and inconsistent contributions to your savings account. Children who learn to budget are more likely to be more adept at money management later in life. 
  2. A credit score is a three digit number banks and lenders use to determine how well-rounded and consistent your history of responsible debt repayment is. Lenders check your credit score to decide whether the risk of providing a loan is worthwhile or not. A high credit score allows you to get the best interest rates on car, home and personal loans, as well as credit cards. Knowing the ins and outs of how to effectively building credit will give your kids a head start in their journey to financial literacy. 
  3. Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions that we make as adults, but the process can be complex and overwhelming. For most, elements like interest rates, down payments, various types of loans, homeowners’ insurance, property taxes and closing costs were foreign concepts that we learned while buying our first home, making the experience even more stressful. Help your children avoid the anxiety by teaching them about these concepts early on. 
  4. Philanthropy is the act of giving a person or charitable foundation a gift. Philanthropic gifts can be given in the form of time, labor or expertise, but most often, they are financial. Philanthropists earn their title by habitually giving. In order to sustain such a financial commitment to others, the giver must employ several money management skills. They must budget, save and keep accurate financial records for tax purposes. Shouldering such a task is more complicated than meets the eye, so true philanthropy must be taught in the same manner as any other financial skill. By exposing children to the purpose, importance and management of giving, you substantially increase the chances of your child being a lifelong philanthropist.

The best way to help your children establish a solid understanding of financial acumen is to start early and be transparent. You are your kids’ first and most important role model and who they look to for guidance. It’s never too early to teach age appropriate money management skills to create in your children a habit of being financially informed and aware. Show your children how you manage your finances. Explain how you budget monthly. Teach them the technical aspects of making tough financial decisions. Doing so can make all the difference in how financially confident and able your child grows up to be.

Tracey and Kimberly EatonFinancial Skills Every Child Should Learn Before Leaving Home
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Parenting Through Encouragement

Parenting Through Encouragement

Raising children is both a challenging and rewarding responsibility. You hold the power to deeply impact another human being’s self-esteem, character, and perspective on life. Committing to being an encouraging voice for your child is an invaluable step in your parenthood journey. Below are 3 tips to help get the job done:

Remind Your Children That It’s Ok to Fail

As parents, we often emphasize the importance of success, high achievement, and ‘doing your best’. But what happens when your children’s best isn’t enough? What should we do when their best efforts still result in failure? In those moments, we are afforded the perfect opportunity to comfort our kids and guide them through the process of: acknowledging their feelings, accepting what happened, and then, taking actionable steps to improve. Adults try and fail all the time, but we are great at hiding our disappointments. So much so, that our kids rarely notice how often we make mistakes. When your child is in the midst of defeat, share stories about your failures and how you used them to bounce back stronger. Lastly, always encourage your children to strive for success, but ensure that they also know there will be occasions where things don’t go according to plan, and that’s ok. Failure is simply an opportunity for growth in our next steps.

Focus on Praise More Than Criticism

A large part of parenting is molding your children into productive, honorable, members of society. Many of us think the best way to do so is by instructing our children on what not to do. While this is one way to achieve the end goal, it’s not always the most encouraging technique.  To alter your approach, focus on the positive more than the negative. Conversations about what not to do can often be reframed by keeping a positive spin in mind. Start by praising your kids: address what they did well, then, expand the conversation by offering ideas on additional steps they can take to produce even better results. Also, remember that not every moment is a moment to reinforce the notion of improvement. Make sure to regularly mix in conversations that are strictly focused on praise. Your approval is one of the greatest sources of pride and confidence your child owns; they look up to you, they respect you, and they want to know that their efforts and achievements are valid in your eyes.

Offer Unconditional Support

There will come a point in every parent-child relationship where our desired outcomes for our children will not come to fruition. We envision our children attending a certain college, playing a certain sport, or pursuing a certain career path…and they may not. It’s ok to feel disappointment; we are human and have valid reasons for wanting our kids to take the paths we imagined. However, they are human too – with their own thoughts, their own personalities, and their own passions. As much as we see them as carbon copies of ourselves, their desires are their own. We have to remember to prove to our children that our support is unconditional – just as unconditional as our love is. Our kids should not feel bound to fulfilling our dreams in order to keep our support, but instead should feel encouraged to be true to themselves. We’ve raised them right, so we must trust the process and allow our kids to become their most genuine version of themselves, with our support as their comfort. Who knows? While their paths may stray a bit from our parental ideals, those decisions may still end with the same fruitful results we envisioned.

How you choose to respond to your children in moments of adversity will heavily determine which coping skills they revisit later in life. With parental encouragement, your children will mature to be well-adjusted adults, who openly share optimism and positivity with others. Even if your children are adult-aged, it’s never too late to start parenting with encouragement in mind.  

Tracey and Kimberly EatonParenting Through Encouragement
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3 Ways To Involve Your Kids In Your Healthy Lifestyle Change

3 Ways To Involve Your Kids In Your Healthy Lifestyle Change

Growing up and being a young adult, you are enabled to be an individual with hobbies and habits galore. Your world changes drastically when you become a parent to revolve around your children, and quite frankly, you love it! Though taking care of offspring may be gratifying, it occasionally can make it an obstacle to focus on your health. Prioritizing your health does not have to be all-or-nothing proposition. Including your children in your lifestyle change can provide a positive example to them and motivation for you to be the role model your children need. Practice these habits to get your kids involved in making your family better as a whole.

Family Democracy On Menu Options
Hop on your go-to site for tasty recipes. Be realistic of your time frame nightly when it comes to sorting through the possibilities. If you are short on time Monday through Friday, perhaps narrow in on one-pot dishes or toss together crockpot meals.

Compile a variation of options that can fit into your nutritional guidelines and schedules. Once you’ve built up a bank of appetizing entrees, put them to the vote! Ask your family members what they are eager to taste or prepare. Not only will this alleviate the anxiety of finicky eaters vetoing dinner, but it will make everyone feel included and give them a night of the week to look forward to being together.

Divvy Up Dinner Duties
Preparing home cooked meals takes a toll on the clock and energy levels. Involve your kids and give them a sense of responsibility by having them chip into the pre-dinner prep. Gauge distribution of activities by the age and skills of your children. Things like rinsing vegetables or peeling potatoes can help immensely and hold them accountable to the healthy eating in the family. If your children are at the stage of using kitchen utensils unsupervised, chopping the sides further or seasoning meats will make the process run smoother. Weave the assignment of duties into your week planning session and go over it with your family to kickstart the week. Display it on a common surface like the refrigerator, that way if anyone is curious or forgets how to pitch it, it’s easy to locate and harder to fall off track.

You Are What You Eat
Eating can be nutritional and educational. Kids learn about the food pyramid, but as many can relate to firsthand, there’s vastly more foods and content available than what is covered in educational systems. “Eat your veggies” is a phrase heard frequently, but that doesn’t inform younger audiences of what the nutritional content in a vegetable or grain may contain. It also doesn’t provide cooking instructions. Take time while cooking with your kids to teach them what different nutrients are apparent and the benefits of them. If you tend to reach for similar ingredients on a daily basis, go to the internet to look up other kinds of foods in that category. Don’t neglect to pass on what you know as an adult to your children. Building a wide fundamental base on nutrition will help them develop a richer knowledge and stronger body.

As you can see, these tips are fairly broad and don’t pertain directly to the foods themselves. That’s where the fun comes into play! Bring your family to the grocery store. Inquire about foods they’ve tried or seen and want to recreate at home. Allergies and sensitivities will make the menu look different for all, but the journey to a healthier life will become easier with your family beside you each step of the way.

Tracey and Kimberly Eaton3 Ways To Involve Your Kids In Your Healthy Lifestyle Change
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What Children Want More Than Presents

What Children Want More Than Presents

As a parent, there’s an innate drive to shower our kids with everything under the sun. If we could, we would probably all buy our children the moon. But how would that benefit them? What life lessons would they learn from being given mountains of presents? Furthermore, children don’t want presents—well, they do—but there are far more important things you can give to them.

There are so many things that children want more than presents.

Children Want Presence

Intentional parents know that one of the main things that children want more than presents is your presence. Quality time with your kids is one of the most wonderful gifts you can give to them. Toys break. Clothes are outgrown. But that time you sat down with them and read an entire book series with them? Those memories will be treasured forever.

There’s no substitute for being there for your children. As much as you can, try to gift them with time, rather than presents.

Children Want Traditions

Remember all of those heartfelt traditions your parents got so excited about over the holidays? Everyone has at least one that they can think of off the top of their head. They’re some of the fondest moments for most people, which is why creating traditions for your family is one of the most precious gifts you could possibly give.

Like a timeless heirloom, those traditions will be passed from generation to generation, forever threading your family legacy together with strings of hope and joy.

Children Want Love

More than anything else, though, your children just want your unconditional love. Presents are lovely. Time is better. But love is what prevails above all else.

As a parent, it can be hard to accept everything that your child does. But does that ever mean you don’t love them? Absolutely not. The love of a parent should always be unconditional, and when you’re able to give that gift to your children, nothing else matters. Through that love, you can raise strong, independent, forward-thinking individuals who know how to love others deeply and pursue their dreams.

There is no greater present than that.

Tracey and Kimberly EatonWhat Children Want More Than Presents
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The Difference Between Survival Parenting and Intentional Parenting

The Difference Between Survival Parenting and Intentional Parenting

There are millions of ways to be a parent. For thousands and thousands of years, people have been raising their children—some, admittedly, better than others. Survival parenting and intentional parenting aren’t new concepts; they’ve been around as long as parenting itself. We’ve just put labels on them in modern society.

To put it simply, the difference between survival parenting and intentional parenting has everything to do with intention.

If your intention is just to survive raising your kids, you’re a survivalist parent. If, however, your intention is to raise your kids to be whole, successful, and independent, you’re an intentional parent.

Survival Parenting

“If I can just make it through the diaper-changing days…”

“If I can just make it through the terrible twos…”

“If I can just make it through the teenage years…”

At the end of those requisite 18 years, survivalist parents sigh in relief. They’ve done it. They’ve survived. But, what about the kids? More than likely, they’ve spent years being babysat by TV sets. They’ve been disciplined with extrinsic motivation in the form of bribes and threats, and as a result, they feel no intrinsic motivation to succeed. Chances are, they’ll end up right back at home sooner rather than later. Or, if they’re not inclined to couch-surf at their parents’ place, they’ll rarely, if ever, return home to visit.

In either case, survival parenting not only does the kid a great disservice, it also hurts the parents in the long run, too.

Intentional Parenting

“How can I help my child learn to do this for himself?”

“What’s best for my daughter in this situation?”

“What will I wish I had done five years from now?”

Intentional parents ask the tough questions of themselves in order to foster growth in their children. It’s not the easiest way to parent, but it’s the best for the kids in the long run. Intentional parents don’t worry about making it through the difficult stages in their children’s lives. They worry about equipping their kids to face challenges for themselves.

The Real Difference

The real difference between intentional parenting and survival parenting is in the results. Children who’ve had intentional parents grow up to be self-assured, confident, independent, successful, and well-adjusted. Children who have had survival parents may end up perfectly fine, but that will have been in spite of their upbringing, not because of it.

Of course, there’s no definitive right way to parent, but if you have the right intentions, you’re definitely on the right track.

Tracey and Kimberly EatonThe Difference Between Survival Parenting and Intentional Parenting
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