Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Dollars and Sense - The Berenstain Bears

Both of our kids are Millennials and I am guilty of preparing lavish kiddy parties (birthday cake, party deco, party packs albeit from cheapest deals I can from eBay, wholesale shops etc) when they were born till kindergarten.

Now that both of them are in school and are still tempted by the treasures in Toys R Us, I decided to start them on some financial management.

First of all, I am not the best in finances but I grew up in a humble household where all money available was spent on food, household expenses and school supplies.

Clothes? I grew up with A LOT of hand-me-downs.

Anyway, I don't go around telling my kids that "money don't grow on trees" or that "I am made of money" thus the kids laughed in glee when they see Papa Berenstain saying that ;-) when the kids go up to him asking for money to buy baseball cards and a wedding dress for a doll.

I thought that the introduction of the concept of "playing with money" was great since most kids did start off with flipping, rolling and stacking coins.

The plot got intense when the kids were given a PILE of dollars for their weekly allowance - I could see the kids getting interested since they are now sort of on a dollar-a-day allowance hahaha.

They loved it when they saw the Berenstain Bears speed out off the house the minute they grabbed their allowance! Kids are kids...

Despite this being an old book, childish (nor adult) behaviours do not change much through time and thus, the Berenstain Bears soon got bored of the candy and toys they'd bought in a hurry. Sound familiar?

One thing I didn't like about the book is the stereotypical angry, shouting Papa Bear archetype when he's asked for money with Mama Bear coming in all calm and sensible - most of the men I grew up were rather good financiers. In reality, the women were always shopping, shopping, shopping...

Thus, the kids were puzzled as to why Papa Bear was getting all hot and bothered but then we got to the part of the kids writing a cheque in exchange for cash with Mama Bear playing the role of a banker.

I thought that this was a brilliant because the kids could see how dollars and cents added up to something.

I've since started a sort of checking account at home for #1 because he had been buying a lot of books using "cash advances". I'm still figuring out something for #2 though.

Anyway, this is a great book to get kids started on financial planning and financial management. #2 loves it as a bedtime story and I like it that she's learning basic financial planning because she could articulate that the girly bear saved her $10 allowance from one week and spent the following week's allowance to bear the doll's wedding dress.

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