Dear Dave: We have two kids, ages 8 and 11. When they get some money, we have them take out 10 percent for tithes or giving and 10 percent for saving. It's difficult with the younger one sometimes because all he wants to do is spend money. And really, what's the point if he gets $10 and is putting away just a dollar? How do you convince a child this age that it's good to save?
First, I think you've got a nice plan in place working with them on saving and giving. With a kid who's 8, you start out by explaining it the best you can on his level. Then, if he still doesn't want to do it, you make him do it anyway. Sometimes, as a parent, you have to pull rank when it comes to doing what's best for the kid.
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Now, here's the point of saving, even if it's only a dollar. You want to make sure you teach them a pattern of habits that will help them win in life. When your kids have homework you make them sit down and do it. Then, you help them when they need help, right? The point is you want them to learn good study habits, so that when they get into high school and beyond they can succeed. That one dollar won't make him rich right now, but getting into the habit of saving – because his mean, old dad made him do it when he was a kid – will make him wealthy one day!
You might try setting goals for him, too. Lots of younger kids have trouble with the concept of saving. But if you set some goals, and let him save up a little bit of money and pay for something himself, it will be a real lesson for him. It will show him that delaying pleasure really pays off.
Make sure you start out small, with a few easily attainable goals. Then, you'll be paving the way for bigger things, like saving for a car and maybe even college!