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What Not to Do when Teaching your Kids about Money

I’m talking today about buying things online in front of your kids. Like many women, I buy a lot of things online; clothing, books, and sunscreen. Anything I need, I see that “free shipping” sign, and my index finger is drawn like a magnet to the purchase button. But for three main reasons, I’ve decided that it’s not a good idea for my kids to see me buying all this stuff online, and here is why. The number one reason is that it’s just too tempting for them.

When they see thousands of objects within a matter of seconds, they’re so tempted, and I feel that for my kids it’s almost physically painful a notion that there is something out there they can’t have. Meanwhile, by not buying things online in front of them, I sort of avoid the inevitable complaining that, “Mommy isn’t buying X, Y or Z.” And the second reason is that then when I buy online or when anyone buys online, the whole physical exchange of money is not taking place in front of my kids.

So they don’t really see that I’m giving up something, thank you very much, namely money in order to get something as good a item that I’m buying. And they just sort of assume that everything is free. Credit cards were bad enough, and now often they don’t even see the credit card because my number is automatically already entered into the e-mail of the websites that I frequent when I buy.

So that is another problem I think when it comes to buying online. Of course they also don’t see bills and change, and they don’t get to see the counting and deductions, subtracting of change and all that which is actually pretty good for kids. And the third reason, which sort of ties in with the second one of why I don’t think it’s good to buy online and I don’t do this, is that the whole human interaction part of this is now out the equation.

There’s no sense that someone out there has worked to make something to provide it to you, and that you’re accepting it, and that you might want to say “thank you” for what they’ve done. So I do try to bring my kids to the market, to the grocery store when I can, which is usually a total nightmare because they’re fighting about things they want or who gets to sit in the carriage or who gets to go along the carriage, and I’m usually worried they’re going to fall off, and I feel like I’m running a train, but anyway this is why. And I want to hear what you’re doing when it comes to buying online in front of your kids.


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