How to “Spoil” Children the Right Way

We’ve talked about the pros and cons of spoiling kids. Many parents and grandparents are guilty of encouraging materialistic traits without realizing it, wanting merely to make their little offspring happy. If you are among those who can’t help themselves, why not spoil your child the right way? Review the tips below to learn some useful and positive strategies. Don’t allow your enthusiasm to end at the toy store.

Useful spoilers include:

A college fund. So, you want to spoil your kids? How about a college education? By 2030, the price of a four-year degree from a public university will cost more than $200,000, leaving you with two options:

  • Save now. It’s imperative to begin saving if you plan to help with your child’s education. 18 years of compounding interest can lead to huge payoffs, allowing your kid to secure a college degree and allowing you to focus on other things (hint: retirement).
  • Opt out. You don’t help with your kid’s education, leaving them to utilize student loans in order to make ends meet, resulting in their own financial troubles.

The bottom line: Some help is better than none at all. Strive for option A and provide your kid with a promising future.

Chores and rewards. Kids learn by doing, so teach them responsibility by rewarding a job well done. Create a weekly chore list for each child and attach a small prize when the tasks are completed, e.g., choosing the restaurant when dining out, an allowance or staying up an hour past bedtime. Do your best to avoid rewarding with “things” and fostering a materialistic mindset. Emphasize the habit, not the payoff.

Crowd-funding a big surprise. A responsible kid deserves a reward as they reach adulthood. If you really want to celebrate your child’s accomplishments, start now by crowd-funding the purchase of a car or vacation. Ask family and friends to contribute to an interest-bearing account every birthday or Christmas. Surprise your child at his college graduation by presenting him with the account and allowing him to choose its use. Hopefully he will choose wisely by using the money to pay off student loans, buy a home or reinvest for long-term growth.

Providing experiences. Few kids remember every plastic toy that passed through the playroom, but they do remember the trip to Disney World. Cut back on possessions in favor of experiences. Allow your household savings to fund memories rather than clutter. Talk to your kids about family saving strategies and their ability to help. Open a bank account to fund each experience and ask your child to contribute small deposits each month. Planning a special trip will allow your kids to enjoy the experience and understand the value of saving rather than spending. You can’t lose.

Remembering your role in their long-term happiness. Good habits begin at an early age. Teaching your child about money management will help them with their own finances as they mature. Think twice about overindulgence and remind yourself of the important things. Does Junior really need another new toy?