I asked the question: I have a very young child, 2 years old, how do I teach him the value of money? How do I explain that we are very fortunate, but we can't always have what we want? Or even better yet, how do I show this to him through my actions?
After listening to Jean's advice, and listening to a great talk on the the topic of saving money, I was ready to tackle this challenge. Two year old children may not quite grasp the concept of a game, and don't do so great in a grocery store, it's every moms favorite place to take their kid, so why not combine the two! I wanted to make the grocery store fun for the both of us, and hopefully help teach a lesson about sticking to what is on our list. Also, secretly hoping to avoid a few of those grocery store meltdowns, by keeping him occupied.
We started with our simple list. I let him be the keeper of the list and a pen. He thought he had won the lottery. As I grabbed items and put them in the cart, I would say, "bananas, lets mark it off our list." We did this throughout the store. He loved helping mark items off the list. Granted, it was getting a little hard to see from the scribbles, but we were having fun! Since, he doesn't really ask for certain food items, I wanted him to feel like he could make choices about foods he likes to eat. I gave him a choice of two different apple sauce squeeze pouches, and let him pick the one to buy.
His last job was to hand the coupons to the cashier. This was thrilling to him because he received praise for how he was being a good helper! I had my wallet open, ready to hand my card to the cashier, and he said, "Mama, I hold the card. Mama money." Those few simple words blew me away! He is two, and already has the concept that we pay with mostly a card and he associates those cards with money. That's an even bigger lesson for another day! For now, we will stick to setting a good money example by only buying items on our list.