Teach the children…so it will not be necessary to teach the adults – Abraham Lincoln
Children are like sponges; they will absorb whatever you expose them to. And boy, do they learn fast! Yes, we all want our kids to be successful adults someday but in this race to be ‘someone’, let’s not forget to teach them to be humans with a huge and open heart. Enabling them to have some amazing life experiences at a young age will do just that. Here are a few:
1. Realising the value of money and saving
You might want to give all the luxuries you can to your little ones but while doing so, do not forget to make them realise the value of money. Help them understand that money does not come easy and must be spent only after putting some thought behind it.
- Open a bank account – Kids are becoming financially literate early these days. You can encourage your children to be so too by opening a bank account in their name and helping them deposit the money they receive on special occasions such as Chinese New Year or their birthday(s). Banks such as OCBC have special programmes such as Mighty Savers to teach kids the benefits of saving. POSB offers free gifts such as a coin bank set and a bookstore membership when you open your child’s account with them!
- Limit their spending – Decide a specific amount for their monthly pocket money and observe how they use it sparingly.
- Strike a deal – If they save $10 in a month, tell them you will add $10 and deposit the amount in their bank account. You can also offer them a little treat such as a trip to their favourite ice cream parlour if they save their pocket money.
- Professional support – There are many institutes such as MoneyTree which aim to inculcate positive spending habits in children by increasing their financial knowledge. Youth Progress Singapore is also conducting a financial literacy study for kindergarten kids.
2. Helping the underprivileged
We all do loads of things for our families. However, what sometimes matters more than that is lending a helping hand to someone in need. Inculcating empathy in your children is becoming increasingly important now with the world turning a little too materialistic with each day.
Children watch and learn. The best way to teach them to care for the underprivileged is to arrange for an experience and then make them realise how good it feels.
- Non-affiliated charities such as Willing Hearts distribute daily meals to those in need – elderly, low-income families, disabled and migrant workers – across Singapore. Willing Hearts accepts child volunteers so it will be the perfect place to help your child experience the joy of helping someone in need.
- Singapore is also home to various animal welfare institutes. If your child is an animal lover, you can schedule a volunteering session with ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society), a registered charity, and let him have a joyous time with his new, cuddly friends.
- Various banks such as Maybank offer auto debit for charity feature on their credit cards where you earn points for recurring donations.
Travel is an excellent form of learning. While children learn ample things in school, you will be surprised how much travelling can contribute positively to their personalities. Travel makes them open to change, more adventurous, and fun! Also, when they grow up, they will have loads of stories to tell.
- Take them to visit theme parks such as Legoland and the Sanrio Hello Kitty town in Malaysia or Hong Kong Disneyland.
- Let them explore the beauty of nature on the pristine beaches of Bali or Thailand.
- Give them a cultural dose at the magnificent temples of Cambodia.
- If you are looking for something more local, why not take your tiny tots to have a little tête-à-tête with nature at Hay Dairies. Visit them between 9:00am and 4:00pm (except Tuesdays and public holidays) and your kids can enjoy cuddling the furry goats and be amazed by watching goat milking sessions.
- Singapore also has many farms, which might come as a surprise to many, where you can either visit or even stay!
Check out economical travel destinations ideal for your family here. And while you are at it, don’t forget to get the right travel insurance and make the most of the travel deals on your credit card. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, and let your kids have some life changing experiences today. ‘Catch ‘em young’, as they say!