Parenting can be pretty hard, and expensive. I was thinking about the discipline shortcuts that I’ve picked up over the years, and it dawned on me that they save money, too! Score and double score!
Here are four easy ways to great kids, and a little extra cash in your pocket:
Less Is More
Chocolate bar at the check-out? Buy the Blu-Ray for every talking animal flick? You’d think with all the killer stuff available for kids today, they’d walk around with a perpetual smile on their faces. Unfortunately, the more you give your kids—and give in to your kids—the less grateful they’ll be. Cutting back will improve some attitudes and your bank balance.
Put A Limit On The Extra-Curricular Activities
No parent wants to feel that they wasted their child’s potential, but let’s be realistic, how many kick boxing/musical theatre/watercolour painting connoisseurs are there? The sheer variety of available lessons for kids has parents scrambling from school to lessons to practice to . . . well, you get the idea. This can lead to stressed out parents who are more likely to let bad behaviour slide, and kids who have no idea how to behave outside of a structured activity. Give the kids a choice of two activities per season—they’ll have to pick what they really love, and you’ll have more time as a family and less money out of your pocket.
Make A Habit To Leave Ten Minutes Before You Have To
Once I discovered this, my life improved dramatically. Now, instead of standing beside the door shouting like a Marine Drill Sergeant, I could round up my kids in a calm—but firm—voice. When they misplace their mittens, I don't run frantically around the house trying to find them, but let my kids go hunting, underscoring the consequence of their choice to be sloppy. I am now able to remember my grocery list, coupons, or travel mug of coffee, saving time and money on my errands. And by the time we make it to the vehicle, I'm not suffering from a massive case of the guilts for snapping at everyone, and less likely to fall into the trap of #1 above.
Eat Supper Together As A Family
Even if it comes out of a white box with blue and orange print, whatever you cook at home is way more likely to be a) more nutritious and b) cheaper than whatever you would get handed through a motorized slide window. The good behaviour benefits of eating together as a family are legion, including teaching table manners, conversation skills, taking turns, and please and thank you, as well as boosting self-esteem, reading levels, and educational achievement later in life. Plus, if you make it a habit, there comes the day when you realize that you don’t have pea-spitting toddlers anymore, but blossoming young people who eat all their veggies and have some really interesting things to say. There’s no amount of money that can buy that!
Since we tried these simple steps, I have definitely noticed happier, better behaved kids, and increased savings. Of course, no one is perfect, but I’ve found the more consistent I am, the greater the rewards. It may seem like a little thing, but over the years in the trenches, they sure add up (just like all those dirty diapers you’ve changed). Great kids, more money.