Explaining Money Issues to a Preschooler

by Bill on November 9, 2011

This is one of the harder things to do when you are broke or near broke. This is also not something you look forward to when you have no job or loose a chunk of your income. So how do you explain that there isn’t the money for toys and wants each week. You don’t – at least not in the conventional way you would explain to older people or teens.

Toys and Money Issues
You find a good compromise. Instead of explaining money issues to your preschooler you settle for toys from the dollar store that cost a dollar or two. Trust me, there are lots to choose from. One of the best ways to do this is to let the child pick out their own toy when you go there. They get to the point where it becomes fun to choose a toy again; and they never seem to realize that you can’t afford higher prices.

Shop on the Cheap
You go for off brands. I know what the advertisers would like consumers to believe – the average preschooler doesn’t really care if you don’t make them aware of it. All they care about is they like wearing Spongebob or Ironman, or they have socks and shoes and a hat. Old Navy won’t go broke without them, and they won’t care about Old Navy for a number of years; actually if you raise them to not care about the name but the quality, they won’t care at all.



The Free Public Library
You make the most of the library. Books and movies are free there as long as you get the stuff back on time. If you make the trip a special event, and let them explore the options and selection when they get there, the library becomes a fun place to be – and you didn’t buy anything. On top of this you encourage the love of reading, knowledge, imagination and all the free things that were theirs to have way before Amazon and Netflix and the Xbox. Most kids this age get hooked onto two or three stories they love to watch or listen to over and over. I’ve actually come to hate Cat in the Hat, but if the entertainment value is there why not. And you avoided explaining money issues to a preschooler without them ever knowing.

The Free Online Videos
You make use of YouTube and free movies online. I know of two four-year olds that love the short Gummy Bear videos found online. YouTube can keep a young child entertained for hours. I’ve managed up to four hours playing just the little clips found there. Yes, you need to be in control of the computer, but shouldn’t you be doing that anyway? So make YouTube a thing your child can utilize instead of the television or paid programming and videos. This is especially true since you are likely paying for the Internet.

So there you have it, a few tips on how to avoid explaining money issues to a preschooler. Now I am not suggesting you avoid McDonald’s or a day out once a week; but make it part of the day full of free things. An afternoon at the library with a cheeseburger later or even a trip to the mini-mart for a frozen treat won’t break the bank – and won’t make you feel like you’re depriving your child of something. Just don’t make the paid world the center of their world when there are so many free or near free options out there.

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