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Teaching Kids About Delayed Gratification

March 28, 2022
Image From: Rifka Hayati from Getty Images Signature/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

In a world full of speedy deliveries, streaming services, and meals that are ready in one minute, it is no wonder so many of us have fallen into an, “I want it, I got it,” mindset.  Sometimes, we end up getting more than we want or need.  We spend money without even thinking… only to, later, look at our bank accounts and question how the balance got so high??

 Teaching your child about the importance and satisfaction of delayed gratification may just be what prevents them from drowning in debt in adulthood. Walter the Vault is here to help you teach your kid about delayed gratification- before the buy-it-now, pay-it-later temptation has a chance to grab hold of them. 

We’ve all been there: you’re cruising down the grocery store and accidentally pass the dreaded toy aisle. The first sparkling doll calls your child’s name and an explosion of “please, Mommy” and tears suddenly erupt. While this is certainly a stressful situation, it is one that provides you the perfect teaching opportunity about delayed gratification. 

Have your little one create a list of the things they want. Every time they see something new they’d like, you can pull up the Notes app in your phone or pull out an old-school pen and paper and write it down along with the price. Sit your child down and help them set money goals. You can ask which wants are top priorities, how much money they currently have, and what they have to do to save enough for their dream toy.  As kids learn that resources are limited, and they only have a certain amount of money to spend on discretionary items, they’ll learn to prioritize their purchases – and resist the impulse buys.  This can be a great strategy for parents to practice as well.  You all can talk about your experience together!  It’s alright to give kids a peek into your thoughts, accomplishments, and struggles.

Your child will likely slip up a time or two as they get a grasp onto the value of holding out on small, insignificant wants for larger, more important ones. That is perfectly fine. This is why it is so great to start teaching them young. It allows them to get the tough mistakes that come with learning out of the way before they can land them in thousands of dollars in debt. 

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