One of the most common things I hear about people worried about living on a small income is that they are worried it will somehow damage their kids. People are concerned that their kids may feel left out, and not succeed in life because of lack of opportunities. I totally get this - sometimes those fears get the best of me as well. But overall, my kids are pretty happy kids. They don't feel like they are missing out, and enjoy the fun we do have on our budget.
So, how do we raise happy kids on a small income? Here are just some of the ways we are doing it.
1. Don't complain about money in front of them. Many times kids grow up in a low-income house and do not even realize their parents struggled with money until much later in life. Their parents made a point to not dwell on the fact that they had a small income, and the kids enjoyed their life so much they never had time to notice the financial struggles.
2. When you do talk about money in front or with the kids, be sure to point out the blessings. At a particularly tight time when my husband was in school we would sit down at the dinner table and I would make a point to say to the kids, "See? Look how our God provides for us. We are so blessed to have a roof over our head, clothes on our back, and food on our table." Soon enough the kids chimed in on how thankful they were, too.
3. Do fun activities that are free or cheap with them. More than anything, kids just want their parents to spend time with them. Go hiking, to the park, the library, do a craft, bake some cookies, or watch a movie you already own together. Just spend time with them.
|Baking with my daughter|
5. Get the kids involved in extra-curriculars that are low-cost or offer subsidy. My son plays soccer which is a very cheap sport to be involved in. My kids take swimming lessons which I was able to get subsidy for through the YMCA. The kids are also involved in kids clubs offered through a local church for a small fee. You may have to pass on the more expensive activities but it doesn't mean you have to say no to all extra-curriculars. Do some research to see what options there are in your local community.
Raising kids on a low income doesn't have to feel overwhelming and discouraging. You can raise beautiful, happy, well-rounded kids no matter what paycheque your family brings in. Remember, more than anything kids just want to be loved and accepted. And that is something anyone can offer for free.