Talking to Your Child About Money

Money can be a difficult—and in some cases, almost taboo—topic to discuss wHappy familyith your children, but as a parent, it’s important that you help your children and teenagers develop good financial habits that they can carry with them into adult life.

Here are a few ideas to help get your children thinking about smart saving and spending habits:

Young children

It is never too early to start helping your child develop a healthy respect for money and to help them develop some good financial habits. The practice of using an allowance can be worthwhile if it does the right things.  To teach your youngsters the basics, try the following:

  • Set a weekly allowance to match the age of the child – a five year old gets $5.00.
  • Tie the allowance to some required chores, like setting the table for dinner or keeping their bedroom clean.
  • Divide the allowance into three spending categories: 1/3 for immediate spending, 1/3 saved for some specific near-term purchase (like a small new toy) and 1/3 for a longer-term goal (like a major new toy).

Teenagers

This is often the most difficult time for children to deal with financial issues.  Peer pressure, a desire to have what friends have and the growing realization that they cannot have everything they want and do everything they want can add tension to any conversation about finances.  It is also the time when children can start understanding more involved financial issues and when financial habits are formed.

The allowance approach gets more complicated for teenagers, as the costs of items they want goes up and they are doing more things that cost money.  Now could be the time to discuss how a job could help them afford the things they want.  After-school and summer jobs are an ideal way for children to learn that money is earned, and not something that mom or dad will always provide.  A job can also teach children about responsibility since their employer will be relying on them to be present and punctual.  If an outside job is not possible, consider paying them an hourly rate for more chores and insist they treat it as a job.

Helping your child establish a checking account, or even prepare his or her own tax return will go a long way to helping them understand that money is a serious matter and that someday they responsible for their own financial decisions.  If your child gets a checking account, be sure you teach them how it works and that they must reconcile their account every month.

Keep the conversation going

Be open to discussing finances with your children.  Children are naturally curious about what they see their parents doing and you can turn that curiosity into teaching opportunities.  The conversations must certainly be age appropriate, but when your child sees you writing checks, it’s an ideal time to start talking about the importance of paying bills and balancing your budget.  A question about what it means when the TV news tells what the stock market did can lead to a more serious discussion about money and long-term financial goals.  And a discussion about choosing a college can be an eye-opening experience when your child learns what it costs.

Take advantage of these opportunities and by the time your child is ready to leave home, they will have a foundation to better prepare themselves for their financial future.

Start your children on the path to financial success. When you open a Kids’ Club account for your child at Community Bank, they’ll become a member of our Green Team. As a Green Team member, they’ll receive quarterly newsletters packed with fun activities to encourage healthy financial habits, and they’ll earn rewards for saving money! Stop in to your local branch for more information!

Halloween Safety Tips

The candy bowls are full, the Jack-o-Lanterns are carved and your children have been wearing their costumes around the house in anticipation. However, before your children take to the neighborhood on October 31, it’s important you proceed with the proper safety precautions to ensure everyone has a great time while scaring up some fun. Here are a few helpful Halloween safety tips for both parents and chPumpkinsildren alike.

Costume Caution

As much as possible, encourage bright or light colored costumes. However, if your children like to take the scare factor to a whole new level by donning costumes fit for a horror movie set, there are ways to make even the most frightening frocks safer. While it might be difficult to convince your son of the need to brighten up his Batman costume for fear of “totally ruining it,” try adding reflective or glow-in-the-dark tape to the bottom of dark costumes and candy bags. Carrying flashlights and glow sticks can also make dark costumes more visible to drivers while not taking too much away from the costume.

‘One size fits all’ might work for the manufacturer, but such store-bought costumes are often far from that. Make sure your child tries on the costume with whatever footwear they intend to pair it with. Pay special attention to the costume’s length, and make sure it is the right size, as a costume that is too long could more easily result in trips and falls.

Masks can make it difficult to see and can hamper your child’s peripheral vision. Nontoxic face paint or make-up are better options, but start by testing a small amount your child’s arm beforehand to check for any possible reaction.

Safekids.org recommends that children under the age of 12 be accompanied by an adult. While chaperoning the group’s movement from house to house, make certain everyone remains on the sidewalks at all times and cross the street at crosswalks whenever possible. If a street does not have a sidewalk, always walk along the left side watching forward for any oncoming cars.

And if you’re children are old enough to venture out on their own, it’s best to remind them of these trick-or-treating rules. It is also a good idea to have them carry a fully charged cellphone and stick to familiar, well-lit neighborhoods.

Drivers, remember the popular trick-or-treating times are between 5:30 and 9:30 pm. Proceed with caution and keep an eye out for children, especially in neighborhoods, when out on the roads.

Rules of the Road

Safekids.org recommends that children under the age of 12 be accompanied by an adult. While chaperoning the group’s movement from house to house, make certain everyone remains on the sidewalks at all times and cross the street at crosswalks whenever possible. If a street does not have a sidewalk, always walk along the left side watching forward for any oncoming cars.

And if you’re children are old enough to venture out on their own, it’s best to remind them of these trick-or-treating rules. It is also a good idea to have them carry a fully charged cellphone and stick to familiar, well-lit neighborhoods.

Drivers, remember the popular trick-or-treating times are between 5:30 and 9:30 pm. Proceed with caution and keep an eye out for children, especially in neighborhoods, when out on the roads.

Candy Collecting

The Food and Drug Administration suggests giving your children a light meal before heading out. This can help prevent hunger, and cut down on the temptation to snack while trick-or-treating. This is especially helpful for parents as it provides you an opportunity to inspect your children’s candy after getting back home.

When checking your child’s candy collection, be on the lookout for homemade goods and any suspicious wrapping. A good rule of thumb is to stick with only candy or sweets found in commercially wrapped packaging.

Whether you will be out trick-or-treating with your children or on your way home from work, just remember to keep these safety tips in mind on Halloween night. We hope everyone has a safe and very Happy Halloween!

Get your youngsters on the road to Saving!

Fillup the Frog helps teach financial literacyWe’re joining institutions across the country that are observing America Saves Week, a national campaign that encourages individuals and families to save money, reduce debt and build personal wealth.

Here at Community Bank of the Chesapeake, we think that teaching youngsters to save is a great way to start them on their way to a lifelong habit of saving. That’s why we make it fun! Continue reading

Friday Focus: Toys for Tots

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for TotsEach year, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program works to brighten the lives of less fortunate children throughout the United States with its annual toy drive. From October to December, the organization works with local communities to accept donations of new toys to be distributed at Christmas time. Their mission is simple: to deliver a message of hope to one of the nation’s most valuable resources—its children. This week, Friday Focus talked with Staff Sergeant Brett Wagner, a coordinator from King George County, VA, who shared some information about the organization and one particularly special instance of how Toys for Tots was able to touch a family in need. Continue reading

Kids: Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween SafetyThe candy bowls are full, the Jack-o-Lanterns are carved and your children have been wearing their costumes around the house in anticipation. However, before your children take to the neighborhood on October 31, it’s important you proceed with the proper safety precautions to ensure everyone has a great time while scaring up some fun. Here are a few helpful Halloween safety tips for both parents and children alike.

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Kids: Chores — a routine part of family life

Kid's ChoresWhether they involve adults, children, or both, chores are a routine part of family life. For youngsters, chores are typically part of a reward system involving some type of compensation. But, chores don’t always have to be compensated – parents should take comfort knowing with chores comes a sense of belonging, satisfaction, self-esteem and responsibility.

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Raising Compassionate Kids

Raising Compassionate KidsCompassion isn’t something we’re born with. It’s learned. And it’s something parents can — and should — teach their kids. You can do it by example. Through conversation. Through experience.

While instilling a sense of compassion in a youngster by being a shining example is admirable, there’s much more to it than that! It’s not enough to just be a compassionate, caring person yourself. You have to help your kids develop empathy, kindness, caring and a sense of responsibility toward others, say the experts at Parenting.com. They suggest steps such as setting rules and expectations, enforcing limits, providing structure, encouraging friendships and setting high standards, among others.

Here are 11 other things you can do to raise a truly caring and compassionate child, from Parents Magazine. And 13 more tips, from Scholastic.com.

Jim Taylor, Ph.D also stresses that children aren’t likely to learn compassion on their own. In his piece for Psychology Today, he says parents have to nurture that “caring for others” trait in a child’s early years, so they will come to “realize its value and embrace it as their own.” The author is also convinced that compassion is contagious, and advises surrounding your family with compassionate people.

Why generate compassion in your children? A simple answer – it could be a key to help them enjoy life by becoming “more deeply attached” to family, friends, and others around them.

Unfortunately, Everydayfamily.com cites an MSNBC special indicating that today’s young adults – high school and college students – are less likely to “get” the emotions of others, citing a more competitive society in which today’s parents are raising children compared to people of the same age group 30 to 40 years ago.

There seems to be no question that, while building a child’s confidence and self-esteem is important, promoting a sense of caring and compassion is equally so.

Back-to-School Budgeting: Tips for Parents

Back-to-School Laura Edgar is a senior writer for NerdWallet.com, a personal finance website that helps people save money on financial products and everyday purchases.

Parents know all too well that back-to-school season is synonymous with spending money. To some extent, this is inevitable. Kids outgrow their old clothes, backpacks break, and your child’s teacher just might need some extra art supplies. With a little advanced planning and creativity, it’s easy to make back-to-school shopping simple and affordable. In fact, budgeting for back to school is a great opportunity to teach your kids financial literacy basics. Here are some helpful suggestions to help you and your child save money and start the school year off right.

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Need a babysitter? There’s an app for that!

Mom with BabyFinding a babysitter when you want one is always a gamble. Your regular sitter is either ready, willing and able — or has other plans. Your relatives— if you’re fortunate enough to have them nearby — are busy, too. Friends are reserved for emergencies only, and you’re leery of strangers.

Scheduling kid-free daytime appointments for yourself can really be a challenge too.

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