It is Christmas time and everyone is struggling financially. Do the kids and your expectations match up? Are you struggling to make ends meet, but then indulging financially during the holiday season? It is time to have a reality check with yourself and your children. A reality check can be accomplished through a very simple act of holding a family meeting. Before your meeting, it is always important to gage your child’s understanding and development to be able to get your point across effectively. Here are some tips for your reality check meeting with your children and to make certain you match their developmental stages and ages.
If your child is in…
Grade School-Keeping the conversation short and sweet, as their attention span will not hold with a lengthy conversation. Focus your attention on the “list” that they are making and explain that even though they are making a list they might not get everything on the list. Teaching the kids to prioritize, listing their top three wants is a great life lesson. Also, engaging in a type of philanthropic cause to begin teaching empathy will begin to turn these little guys into empathetic adults.
Teens/Tweens-Focus the attention of the meeting on complete honesty with the family’s financial situation. Allowing the teen to be able to “step into their parents’ shoes” by taking a look at a realistic budget. Have a brainstorming meeting on how to be frugal with money and presents. Teens and Tweens need to begin learning how to budget and make choices with money, it will not be long when they may be out on their own at college attempting money management, practicing along the way will make their lives a lot easier later in life. In addition, engaging in a type of philanthropic cause to follow through with empathetic appreciation.
College/Adult Children-Again, focusing the attention of the meeting on complete honesty with the family’s financial situation. Make suggestions of new holiday traditions that they can help create such as: exchanging white elephant gifts, playing rob your neighbor, buying only for small children, having a cookie exchange, and volunteering as a family together. Lastly, engaging in a type of philanthropic cause to promote the true meaning of Christmas, it is better to give than receive; at this point in their lives they will understand this concept.
Providing a reality check for you and your family will be the best gift of all to give them this holiday season. Being open, honest, and engaging with your children will provide a sense of unity, stability, and grace!