How do you talk to your kids about inflation and high bills? ‘Don’t turn around’

High inflation and rising bills can cause a lot of stress in the home. And for changes: for example, take a shorter shower or lower the heat. How do you talk about it with your kids? “They feel everything flawlessly.”

It can be difficult to talk about, especially with young children.

Uneasy feeling

“It’s always a difficult tension between being too honest and too secretive,” says child psychologist Marilene de Zeeuw. But it is certain that you should talk to your children about it. “If you see that your parents are worried or stressed and you don’t know why, it’s very alarming. It feels unsafe for children.”

So above all, be honest, she says, age appropriate. A useful starting point is that you talk to your children if they also feel the concrete consequences of inflation or rising bills. “It’s always best to explain something in response to a new habit in the family.”

Logical history

Spokesperson Karin Radstaak from the Norwegian Institute for Budget Information (Nibud) agrees. “It is very difficult not to immediately convey your concerns to your child. They feel everything flawlessly,” she says.

“But it often goes well if you can link a logical story to your choices. Explain in a normal way that it is nice if everyone takes a shorter bath so that it costs less money. Children then just think: OK, that’s right. “

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hooks

The best way to have that conversation is with the help of ‘hooks’, De Zeeuw gives as a tip.

“Then you say, ‘Mom (or dad) gets money from the boss or from the government in our country. Right now it’s not enough to keep our house warm. I really like it when you open the doors. closes well too . . . What else could we do? We have to do it together’.”

Take a shorter shower

According to Radstaak, it also depends on how bad the money worries are at the time. “It varies a lot from family to family,” she emphasizes. “In a family where this sort of thing happens for the first time, you can make it a challenge: Who takes the shortest shower? Then you can later show that the bill is lower, because everyone has done their best.”

But for some families it ends at some point, she says. “If the need really arises and the bill becomes an unavoidable problem, children will get more of it. You can’t keep making things up. Then you just say you can’t buy chips at the moment if you also want to buy Bread.”

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Creative thinking

When it comes to the fact that you can no longer do certain things because it has become too expensive, according to child psychologist De Zeeuw, it is good to let other parents help you get creative again.

“You don’t have to beat around the bush. Something like an amusement park is just too expensive. Ask parents in the same boat about alternatives, such as activities at the library, help in your neighborhood vegetable garden, a game-picking trip, and pack it a little nicer. “

‘Yum is free’

It is often more difficult to be creative when you are stressed, De Zeeuw admits. Therefore, it is also good to discuss in the family how you help each other to ensure that the glass remains half full. “Yum is free, nature is free. The best things in life are free.”

“Don’t feel alone and help your child to be open about their concerns. Shame isolates people even more,” she explains.

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Out of the taboo

It’s a taboo to talk about money, Radstaak knows, and we really need to get rid of that in the Netherlands. “You don’t have to say how much you earn, but you can explain that choices have to be made. That things cost money and that everything is more expensive now. And therefore you can’t do everything you want.”

You can also talk about how you handle the distribution of your money. “Teach them how to make choices. You can discuss that with children who already receive pocket money. What do you do with your money?” she explains. “Explain that money is not unlimited, although it sometimes seems that way in other families.”

No shame

“Adults find it difficult to say they can’t afford something because they are ashamed. Especially now, it’s really not necessary,” continues Radstaak. That’s why it’s good to talk about it with your children. “The more you learn as a child that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s good for you.”

“It is very instructive for later”, continues Radstaak. “If you know as an 18-year-old that you don’t have to be ashamed and how to make the best choices, that’s just a bonus.”

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