Building Confidence in Your Child Using Money and Chores

Putting your child in charge of money and setting up your chore system correctly are great confidence building activities for kids.

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Looking for activities to help build confidence in your child?

You came to the right place. But you might be wondering, “what does money have to do with my kid being confident in life?”

And you wouldn't be alone.

I was talking with a Mama Bear a few weeks ago during open gymnastics time with my little guy. I mentioned what I do for a living – partner with mothers to help teach their kids how to manage money – and I could see immediately that the subject of money and her own kids had given her a few late-night worry sessions.

But then she said something that immediately made me stop.

“I was going to start giving my child money, but then I thought, ‘what does my 9-year-old need money for? When I can answer that, then we’ll start with money education.”

Boy, do I have a few things to say on this subject — specifically, how giving your child money DIRECTLY relates to raising a confident child.

You see, many parents think that sports are the only activity that will teach their child confidence. They see money education as an afterthought, because they don't understand that mastering money teaches wayyyy more than just money confidence — it spills out into all areas of life.

So today, I want to talk to you about how you can build confidence in your child using two confidence building activities: money + your chores system (and no — you don't need to pay for chores for this to work).

First up, let's discuss how to build self-confidence in a child.

How Do You Build Confidence in a Child?

You gain confidence when you master something.

Not when you get it right every time, but when you get it right enough and understand it enough that you not only can work yourself through any situation that comes your way, but you KNOW that you can work through whatever situation comes your way.

In other words, confidence is the absence of fear, and the presence of a certain amount of trust in yourself.

And once kids master one area in their lives, their self confidence builds. Which also happens to motivate them to start mastering other areas in their lives!

But here's the catch: it’s rare to master something without actually using it, playing with it, and practicing with it. Think about it – how many pro baseball players book-studied their way onto their national team?

You need to have practice handling whatever you’re trying to master – being put into situations and learning how to think on your feet with the tools + resources you’ve been given.

That’s where money comes in.

How Your Child Gains Money Confidence

Building self confidence with money is such an important life skill – the kind they don’t teach in school.

It’s likely that either a) it took way too long for you to feel confident in your own money abilities, or b) you still don’t feel overly confident in the money arena of your life.

And I know for sure you don’t want your child to go down the same path as you. I know this because I’m a parent, myself, and we always want better for our kiddos! Who wouldn’t want a confident child who feels certain about handling their money?

I’m going to share with you 3 confidence building activities for kids to jump-start building confidence in your child, by mastering money:

Confidence Builder #1: Complete the Money Training Triangle

Reading about money is great. Talking about money is better. But handling money? Now you’ve completed the three-pointed money triangle for how to teach your kids this critical life skill.

Your child needs to get money into their hands as soon as possible so that they can enter the money-management learning cycle (decision-consequence-tweak-try again) where they self-discover the money goals + lessons you have for them.

Now’s the time to nail down your allowance for kids system (what I like to call, your Kid Money System) to do just that.

Confidence Builder #2: Model Confident Problem-Solving Behavior with Money

Don’t run from your money struggles, don’t hide them from your children (or at least not all of them), and don’t walk around anxious about money.

I know, I know — those are tall orders.

But guess what? Your kiddo is smart, and they’ll pick up on all of these things.

Instead, model confident problem-solving behavior to your child by pointing out a money frustration or problem you’re dealing with, then sitting down with them to work through your different options.

You don’t have to hide the fact that you’re unhappy about the situation. But you do need to show your kiddo that you’re still choosing to confront it dead-on and with an amount of confidence in your own ability to figure things out.

Hint: Make sure you choose a money problem that a) isn’t too scary for a child to learn about, and b) you are moderately confident you know some sensible options to solve it with. This could be fixing an automatic payment snafu with a company, deal searching your next hotel stay to make sure you’re within a certain budget, or calling a customer service rep to fix a problem on your last medical bill.

Confidence Builder #3: Help Your Child Constructively Appraise their Money Efforts

This one works best when your child has been working on a savings goal, money goal, or when the entire family has created a savings goal project.

In the middle, or towards the end of your child’s goal, sit down with them to help them work through their strengths and weaknesses in regards to their effort they put forth.

Notice how I said their effort?That's because kids are money masters right now. So they might put a ton of effort in but not get things “right” just yet.

They’re basically in money training wheels right now.

So, what you want to do is have them AND you focus on the positive efforts they’re putting into their money goals (and everywhere else). Because one day? Those efforts will yield the results they’re hoping for. But not if they stop putting those efforts in just because they're not getting the exact results they want.

Today, you just want them to keep up the efforts they're already good at, and work on the ones that need it.

Now, let's move onto how you can build confidence in your kid by setting up your chore system a certain way.

How to Build Confidence in a Kid through Your Chore System

Family chores are not just a means to get your household work done. I mean, that's a definite plus. But the bigger reason we give chores to our kids is to TEACH them something.

And not just ONE thing, but many things.

I want to run down the 5 different lessons your child can self-discover through chores — the very lessons that make this an awesome confidence building activity for kids.

Because once you know the lessons you’re shooting for? Then choosing chores for your child will be much easier.

Pssst: check out my age appropriate chores list for kids for more help. 

Chore Lesson #1: How to Master a Skill

You might be tempted to hand a chore off to a younger child, since your oldest has been doing it for a long time.

Or, perhaps you use a chore rotation system of some sort, so your children are constantly rotating through a set list of chores.

But if you hand off a chore too often, or too quickly, then you’re robbing your child of one beautiful thing: learning how to master something.

Mastery is how children – and anyone, really – builds self-esteem and self-confidence.

If your child is showing an interest in a particular chore, and takes some pride in their work on something, then you might think about both continuing to give them that responsibility + helping them to elevate their skill even more.

On the other hand, if your child is not-so-hot at a certain chore (and you don’t suspect it’s because they’re dragging their feet in the hopes that Mom – that’s you! – will do it herself), then continuing to give them that particular chore until they work through their frustrations and “get it right” can also significantly add to their self-confidence.

Which brings us to our next chore lesson.

Chore Lesson #2: How to Work through a Challenge

Let’s face it – we’re not all going to be amazing at each thing we do.

I can think of countless things I am not good at when it comes to blogging – such as tech, video production (I’m getting better!), image work (really getting better here!), sourcing Pinterest traffic, etc.

Your child is not going to be good at each chore they attempt. And not only attempt; they might just be plain bad at the chores you’re expecting them to do.

You want to choose chores that will challenge them beyond what they’re capable of doing right now.

I don’t suggest you do it in a way that forever frustrates them (though some frustration is ideal for getting motivation to improve something, for sure).

What I’m suggesting is to give them a chore outside of their capability level – say from the next age range up – and you completing the chore with them, side-by-side.

You won’t be doing the chore with them forever, just until they are ready to do it by themselves.

Bonus: Giving them something of a challenge will better keep their attention in the chore process (at least a bit more than they would normally!).

Chore Lesson #3: How to Instruct Someone Else

Have you ever been in a position where you needed to teach something to someone – perhaps even something you had only just learned yourself?

It solidifies your learning in a completely different way.

Your child can gain the same benefit.

So, you want to keep them in charge of a few chores that they get to instruct their younger sibling on.

This will put them in the instructor position, and they’ll learn even more about the process + about how to teach others by passing it down to someone else.

Chore Lesson #4: How to Be Responsible for Themselves

There are personal responsibilities that each of us has as humans. We have to do things like replace the toilet paper roll in the bathroom (otherwise, we won’t have toilet paper the next time!).

Your child needs to have some personal responsibility chores – the kind of responsibilities they’ll be responsible for in their adult lives.

This could be having them do their personal laundry, or put their personal laundry away. It could be having them hang up their backpack and put their shoes away as soon as they get home from school.

Hint: If you want to pay for chores, then I would suggest you do NOT pay for this category. Think about it – they won’t be paid to brush their teeth, or put their own dishes in the dishwasher as an adult. And if their only motivation to do so is an external one – getting paid – well then, they might just have a pretty grungy first apartment.

Chore Lesson #5: How to Be a Team Player + Team Contributor

It’s likely your child will join teams at work, school, and have their own family one day. They’ll have to do things for the greater good of these groups, and without necessarily getting lots of personal gain.

Choose a few chores that contribute to the greater good of the family to teach them to be team players + contribute to something outside of their own gain.

You could call these family duties.

Hint: Again, if you want to pay for chores, then I would suggest you do NOT pay for chores from this category. Think about it – you want them to be merry contributors to the greater good of people they love.

Just remember that building confidence in your child takes a little time; that’s probably why it takes 18 years to raise your kiddo! And you don’t need to know how to explain confidence to a child. You just need to work on letting them DO things (believe me, you’ll know a confident child when you see one!).

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2016 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Amanda's kid money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Read more here.
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