Raising Selfless Children

Our children are growing up in an age filled with relentless messages to consume more, more, more, as well as immediate access to almost anything. Add to that the rapidly evolving technology available to them and the ever-present competition among peers, and the difficulty of raising selfless children in a materialistic world can seem impossible. But it’s not hopeless, of course, and there are plenty of things you can do to help them maintain a level of humility. Here are a few ways you can start:

Set limits, and when you say “No,” mean it.

One reason kids become selfish is they get too used to getting their way. It’s important to be clear about what you expect of them and then adhere to those limits. Giving in to tantrums, whining, complaining or attempts to make you feel guilty simply teaches them that they get their way if they complain enough.

Go through possessions with them and donate to charity.

You already know kids are constantly outgrowing clothes and toys. But don’t just deal with them on your own, make time to go through their belongings with them and donate some to charity. It is very useful to give them an understanding of the lives of the less fortunate and how some help can really make a difference.

Do chores with them.

Kids don’t innately understand that hard work pays off. Assign chores and then help them complete them. They may not understand that the house looks nice because you spent hours cleaning it, but if they do their part they can see concrete results and how it directly affects their world.

Nurture empathy.

Babies are by nature selfish, and so are young kids. It takes awhile for them to realize the world isn’t centered on them, so encourage them to consider how others feel. You nurture their empathy by helping them understand the mindset of someone else. “Imagine you just moved here and are walking into school for the first time. How would you feel?”

Reinforce selfless acts.

One of the quickest ways to increase selflessness is to “catch” them doing unselfish acts and praise them. Doing so will encourage them to repeat the behavior. Just remember to describe the behavior and point out the impact it had. “Did you see the smile on your brother’s face when you shared your toys? You made him so happy.”

 

 

Back-to-School Savings: Keeping Costs to a Minimum

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Ever notice how the ringing of school bells parallels the ‘cha-ching’ of cash registers? Buying back-to-school supplies, clothing and electronics can eat up a large chunk of income. Instead of waiting until the last minute, plan ahead, do your research and earn yourself an A+ in school shopping.

On average, parents spend $100 to $200 per child for back-to-school supplies. In the weeks before your kids head back to class, look around your home and start filling their backpacks. Sharpen last year’s colored pencils and see how many pages are left in last semester’s notebooks.

To supplement supplies you find at home, leverage the Internet to price and compare items from different stores. There are hundreds of best deal articles out there, and even entire websites devoted to ad comparisons and coupon savings. You can often find the same savings breakdowns for your child’s closet.

Since school begins during August or September you can typically count on your children wearing the same wardrobe they did over summer break. Hold off on buying the latest fashions – those same ensembles are likely to go on sale in less than a month. If you want to send them off in a new outfit, see what you can find on the sale racks. The end of summer is a great time to get deals on sandals, shorts and sundresses.

 

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the easiest, most efficient way to save money when you’re shopping for back-to-school necessities is to make a budget and stick to it. Combing the aisles for crayons, notebooks and gym sneakers is also a great opportunity to give your little ones a lesson in finances.

Ask them to add up totals and compare brands – they’re likely to have a newfound appreciation for their supplies. Any leftover funds can be deposited into their Kirby Kangaroo Club savings account.

Sweet Dreams for the Class of 2032: Saving For College From the Very Start

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If you’re a new parent, you’re probably more concerned with getting a good night’s sleep than with how you’re going to put your new bundle of joy through college. But if you start saving now, you’ll be better prepared for the high price of higher education.

Tuition Keeps Rising
According to the U.S. Department of Education, undergrads can expect to pay “$13,600 at public institutions, $36,300 at private not-for-profit institutions, and $23,500 at private for-profit institutions” per year.

The same study found that “between 2000 and 2011, prices for undergraduate tuition, room and board at public institutions rose 42 percent, and prices at private not-for-profit institutions rose 31 percent, after adjustment for inflation.”

And you thought diapers and formula were expensive!

Junior’s Future Plans
If tuition increases continue at this level, today’s new parents could easily expect staggering tuition payments. In other words, start saving for college as soon as possible. By putting away as little as $100 a month into a savings account, you can save nearly $40,000 over the course of 18 years.

The good news is, there are savings resources to help you get there. Missouri Credit Union offers members Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). It’s a savings tool that’s exempt from federal income tax for qualified higher education expenses. Some key points to keep in mind when considering an ESA:
• Maximum contribution of $2,000 per year per child under age 18.
• May be used by either full- or part-time students.
• Qualified withdrawals include: tuition, room and board, books, computer equipment and more.

Learn more about saving for college by making an appointment with an MCU personal financial officer.

You may not be sleeping much, but you’ll rest easier knowing that your little one’s college dreams are closer to becoming a reality.