Money can often be likened to a river. There are times when it is free flowing at a steady pace toward the valley fields, allowing for just the amount to be spread amongst all who need it . Other times, it overflows in abundance, where reserves are able to be stored. Then, there are times when it is frozen solid and immovable. And then all there is, it seems is a riverbed filled with rocks and sand, with mere morning dew, or the trickle of what remains of the free-flowing river to keep it moist for a small time. There are many ways to be involved in helping your children cope with financial stress during COVID-19.
Due to a global pandemic that has closed many businesses and put millions out of work, it may seem like life is but a barren riverbed. This puts stress on those in charge of putting food on the table, and that stress can have a lasting effect on children. According to many reports, including one published by the Minnesota Public Radio, how children cope has less to do with the amount of money that comes in, and more with how their caregivers respond to the situation.
If you are struggling in helping your children cope with financial stress, here are some things you can do to ease the burden on your children.
If you went from being able to buy new toys and clothes regularly, to barely being able to pay your bills, then your kids will notice a difference. Your child may ask for things and throw fits when they do not get what they’re used to getting. When this happens, it is a perfect opportunity to have an honest conversation about what is happening.
If you lost your job or had your hours cut back, tell your child this. Perhaps say, “Mommy isn’t working very much right now, and we have less money to buy things. I’m working hard to change that, but right now we can’t buy a lot of extra things.” There doesn’t have to be a big explanation, just simplicity and honesty.
Helping Your Children Cope by Involving Your Child in Creating a Realistic Budget
It may feel uncomfortable to involve your children in financial matters of the home, but it isn’t a bad idea. In fact, financial literacy is a critical skill for all people, and the more you expose your children to it, the better they will be able to handle their own finances as adults.
Work on a shopping list together based on your weekly or monthly budget. Go through items in your home that are of value that you could perhaps sell on an online marketplace.
Making them part of the solution will help them see that no matter how bad things are, you can always make steps in a positive direction. Do not point fingers or use guilt
Perhaps you have children who are involved in extracurricular activities like athletics that you are struggling to pay. Many of these things, especially at the competition level have a money commitment. Refrain from putting a guilt trip on your children for costing you extra money. This could cause your children to have a negative tie toward money as well as their chosen activity.
Be honest with your child’s coach about your situation, and he or she may be able to work with you to make smaller payments. Perhaps you can work with your child to do a fundraiser. With you working fewer hours, now might be a good time to work hand-in-hand with your child to find a solution.
Use Time Wisely
Speaking of more time, now that you are spending less time at the office, maybe find some time to be with your child. Go for walks, bike rides or hikes. Play card games or video games together. Have heart-to-heart talks. Who knows? You and your child may look back on this time as some of the best times of your life.
After all, you may find that the adage rings true: Money really isn’t everything. If you are having difficulty helping your children cope with financial stress let us know!