Teaching children about "needs" and "wants"
Parents may have encountered situations when children see something they like and they immediately ask you to buy it for them. You may have only allowed them to choose one item, but after they have bought it, they will persuade you to buy them more.
Children may think that money is used to buy whatever they want. Therefore, parents can try the following to establish the concept of needs and wants.
5 ways to learn about "Needs" versus "Wants"
- Ask your children to consider these questions and have a discussion with them. If they forget to bring their water bottles to school, when they are thirsty, will they buy water or a soft drink? Is it necessary to buy a drink, or can they drink from the school water fountain instead?
- When your children ask for more toys, ask them to consider if they already have similar toys at home and why do they want it? Parents can advise them on the reasons for not buying it, or ask them to pay for it with their own pocket money.
- Children are required to bring their pencil cases to school. When choosing pencil cases with your children, let them think about the differences between the functional cases and the fancy ones, and take note of their prices. Consider which pencil cases are "wants" rather than "needs".
- Give your children some pocket money to use for necessary items, for example paying for their meals or transportation. Let them understand that money is not only used to buy the things that they "want", but more importantly it is used for things that they "need".
- Ask your children to come up with their own "needs and wants list" and jot them down in two separate columns "Things that I want, but do not actually need" and "Things that I need for my living". Have a discussion with them about their list of items.