Friday, February 29, 2008

A 3 year old and money

The other day, we were out shopping as a family. The had each gotten some money, so we told them they could spend it while we were out. The first place we went, that had toys, Wes picked up some sea creature toys. Nathan almost picked up some western toys. We told Nathan that we had a big day of shopping ahead of us and that he didn't have to get anything right away. He said he really liked them, so we got them. Then we told him that if he wanted to wait to open them, he could return them if he liked something else.

A little while later, we were at another store. Nathan wanted to look at the toys to see if there was anything he liked better. While in the car aisle, he found this truck and trailer set he really liked. So we told him if he got the truck then we'd have to take the western toys back. He wasn't too happy about it, but decided he wanted the truck. (We tried not to convince him to not get the truck and trailer, he already has toys like it and doesn't have many western toys.)

It was tough to not "make" him buy what we wanted him to buy.

Fast forward, just a bit, to the post-toy aisles. We were walking down the tool aisle and I could see that Nathan was getting upset. I knelt down to talk to him and he just started to cry. I asked him what was wrong. He told me he wanted to get truck, but still wanted the western toys. He even told me it was a hard decision. (at this point I started to tear up) I reassured him Amy and I knew it was a tough decision and wanted to help. We stood there in the aisle for at least 5 minutes. Near the end of our conversation, Nathan made this statement - "I want to get both of them, but I know I can't." He was really struggling with what he wanted and what he could get. And it was a struggle he had to figure out.

At that point, he decided on the truck. But ultimately, he ended up with a bike horn and construction set.

The whole process made me rethink my wants/desires. What Amy and I do with our money (how we spent it, what we spend it on...) is an example to our boys about money management. For Nathan and Wes, a lot of their spending and saving habits will come from watching Amy and I handle our money.


  1. It's amazing how much our kids teach us while we're busy trying to raise them ...

  2. yeah, as long as we stop and pay attention

  3. yikes. great topic. scares the snot out of me that my boy is watching me and learning from me. i am reminded of that everyday. what a tough job.