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How to teach your kids to be cash smart

I’m not good with maths. I was the worst in my school. The only thing I knew was how to save pennies to buy sweets after school or to save my bus fare money to buy a kids magazine. Nobody taught me the importance of saving money. Growing up, my adoptive parents argued a lot about money. How I was costing them money that they could have used on their biological family. Maybe that’s what prompted me to save pennies. I was about 9-years-old when I saw my adoptive mum put some small loose change on the table. I asked her if it was worth anything and she said ‘no’. So I asked

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‘Can you buy anything with it?’ Her reply was ‘no’. So I asked if I could have the loose change, and then every time I saw any coins in the street on my way to school, I would pick them up. Soon I had 30p and was able to go to the newsagents’ shop and buy what seemed like a lifetime’s supply of sweets. That encouraged me to look and ask for pennies and save them. The newspaper guy wasn’t always pleased to see me through. I had bags of pennies that he had to count. This penny- saving lesson is what I have taught my children from being young. When they each reached the age of two I would give them a penny for putting their toys away.

By the age of three they wanted to get magazines that had toys in them, so I started hiring them to do jobs in the house. This week my 8-year-old son mowed the front lawn for me, and I paid him £3. He is younger than his sisters and doesn’t like to negotiate with me. I tell my kids they might forget everything they learn at school, but I want them to learn and remember how to make and manage money. I tell my children we have a good life because we can manage the money we have.

My children negotiate with each other. Before the lockdown, I would drive them to the shopping centre where they would buy their own stuff, and if they didn’t have enough cash they would borrow from each another and if the others refused to lend I was the last resort. They have learned to pay back what they borrow from me and each other. If they don’t have enough money to pay back they ask to do a job to redeem themselves from debt. When raising or teaching my kids basic life-skills I like to use my intuition. I am an intuitive person, and I have learned to listen to my intuition. You may not view yourself as intuitive, but you can develop your intuition. Take time to listen to what your intuition is saying. So use your own creativity and intuition to teach your children about money.


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How to keep your kids Entertain

Having kids is great, isn’t it? If you are new to parenthood my advice is to enjoy every minute of babyhood because entertaining a baby is super- easy and fun. Babies fall asleep and relax. They don’t insist you take them to the park, they don’t demand you push them on the swings or whirl them on the roundabout.

Once they start growing and going to nursery, primary school and senior school you will find that your bundle-of-joy is a bundle-of-joy with its own opinions. They will tell you that your choice of entertainment for them is too childish, too boring, not cool and that their friends have far more fun. If you want some guidance, here are my tips:

1. Don’t let the kids watch television on weekdays. I let my little darlings watch television at weekends. We count Friday evening as the start of the weekend, and we have a pizza and movie night. With the coronavirus lockdown in place, I am allowing access to playing Xbox games during the week, but only after doing their studies and playing in the garden.

2. In non-lockdown times I take the kids ‘bouldering’. For those not in the know, this is a form of climbing on a small rock formation or an artificial wall. This provides great family time and we each get a full-body workout. It also improves balance and flexibility.


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3. Take them cycling. This usually ends up with me carrying extra loads or pushing one of the kids’ bikes, so if we are going local, I take my bike; but if we are going somewhere that takes more than one hour they ride their bikes and I walk.


4. I used to bake and cook with my kids, but I have given up. They have become back – seat drivers telling me how to do it. So now I give them instructions on preparing basic stuff and let them get on with it. They use the microwave and the oven. Pizza, jacket potatoes. That sort of stuff.

5. And finally, leave them alone for a little while. I struggled with this, but the lockdown pushed me to deal with it. They reach an age where you can leave them for a while. And they enjoy the responsibility. The right age will vary for each child and individual circumstances, but it helps them to mature. Be brave, be responsible and stay relaxed.