High inflation and high bills can cause a lot of stress in the home. And for changes: For example, take a shorter bath or turn down the temperature. How do you talk about it with your children? “They feel everything flawless.”
It can be hard to talk about it, especially with young children.
“It’s always a difficult area of tension between too much honesty and too much secrecy,” says child psychologist Marilene de Zeeuw. But you should definitely talk to your kids about it. “If you see that your parents are anxious or stressed, and you don’t know why, that is very concerning. It feels unsafe for children.”
So above all else, be honest, she says, is age-appropriate. A helpful starting point is that you talk to your children if they also notice the tangible consequences of inflation or higher bills. “It is always better to explain something in response to a new habit in the family.”
Institute spokeswoman Karen Radstack of the National Institute for Budget Information (NEBOD) agrees. “It’s very difficult not to immediately convey your concerns to your child,” she says. “He feels everything so flawlessly.”
“But often it goes well if you can relate a logical story to your choices. Explain in a casual way that it is good for everyone to take a shorter bath so that it costs less. And then the children just think: Well, that’s right.”
The best way to have this conversation is via “coat racks,” De Zeeuw offers as advice.
Then you say, ‘My mom (or dad) gets money from his boss, or from our country’s government. Right now, that’s not enough to keep our house warm. I really like it when the doors open. Closes well too. . What else can we do? We have to do it together.”
Take a shorter bath
According to Radstack, it also depends on how bad the money concerns were at the time. “It is very different for every family,” she asserts. “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 did their best.”
But for some families, it ends at some point, she says. “If the need really arose and the bill became an inevitable problem, the kids would get more of it. You can’t keep rolling things out. Then you just say you can’t buy chips right now if you also want to buy bread.”
When it comes to the fact that you can no longer do certain things because they have become so expensive, according to child psychologist De Zeeuw, it’s a good idea to let other parents help you get creative again.
“You don’t have to beat around the bush. Something like a theme park is expensive. Ask the parents in the same boat for alternatives, like activities at the library, help with your area vegetable garden, a wild garden-picking walk, and packing it a little better.”
cuddles are free
De Zeeuw admits that creativity is often more difficult when you’re under stress. This is why it is also a good idea to discuss in the family how you can help each other to ensure that the glass stays half full. “cuddles are free, nature is free. The best things in life are free.”
“Don’t feel lonely and help your child be open about their concerns,” she explains. “Shame isolates people even more.”
outside the taboo
Radstack knows it’s a taboo to talk about money, 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 make it clear that choices have to be made. These things cost money, and everything is more expensive now. That’s why you can’t do everything you want.”
You can also talk about how you handle the distribution of your money. “Teach them how to choose. You can discuss it with the kids who are already receiving pocket money. What do you do with your money?” She explained. “Explain that money is not without limits, although sometimes it appears that way in other families.”
“Adults find it hard to say they can’t afford something, because they’re shy. Especially now, it’s not really necessary,” Radstack continues. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk about it with your kids. “Whenever you learn as a kid that there is nothing to be ashamed of, it is good for you.”
“It’s very useful later,” Radstack continues. “If you know at 18 that you don’t have to be shy and how you can make the best choices, that’s just a bonus.”