Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | June 1, 2009
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An Educator's 5 Tips for 'fattening' your child's piggy bank
Laranzo Dacres, Gleaner Writer

Stella Maris Preparatory School in St Andrew has been named the Jamaica National Building Society Top Saver in the island, and principal Cecile A. Jarrett is offering to parents, five workable tips to 'fatten' their children's piggy banks.

1. Introduce them to the concept of money (establish a value for money).

I treat the matter of teaching children how to save, like I would teach them how to read. I do it by age. So I would first teach them the value of money.

I would show them the value by differentiating coins from notes. This, is for younger children, children around grade two. Take them to the store or bank so they can see that it is money that buys things for them, not necessarily their parents.

2. Teach them to save towards something.

At this stage, about age six plus, you can get them a piggy bank and let them get accustomed to the idea of placing money in the piggy bank by physically doing this activity with them. Show them that by saving, over time they will be able to get things that they want from the money that they have saved. Make sure to show them the step-by-step transition from hand to piggy bank to their desired item, which is the target of their savings.

This shows them how beneficial saving is to them, it gratifies some of their desires. They must adopt the mentality that if you want additional stuff, you save for it.

3. Teach your children to be self-reliant at times to get the things that they want.

If parents want their children to learn to save, they must learn to say 'No'. Do not buy everything that they ask for. Let them see that discipline, saving, priorities and delayed gratification are important factors, spanning into self-reliance.

They must be able to see saving towards a goal like a chore, one that is rewarding to them at the end. To make them more interested, make a deal with them that if by the end of the month they save say $1,000, you will match that amount. This will promote more saving. In older kids, the opening of a savings account is necessary.

4. Teach them the benefit of shopping smart (spend less, save more).

Sensitise the children to eating at home, so they can save the money that they would potentially spend on junk food. The students at my school love the cooked lunch offered at the canteen and it is also cheaper than junk food, so the parent must sensitise the child to eating at home with appealing meals.

Also, carry them to the supermarket and show them how to buy the cheaper items and save the change. Let them know that in adopting this mentality they can save to get more of what they want.

5. Teach them delayed gratification.

Once children are taught this step, saving should not be a problem. Children should learn this from they are very young so saving will not be a problem later on in their lives. They should understand the importance of saving for a purpose that ties into delayed gratification - saving towards things like travel, charity, toys, games and the likes. For older children, they should see the value in saving money for "when I grow older".

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