Ever since my daughter learned about the hot lunch program in kindergarten, she's been eagerly anticipating being old enough to participate. Now let's be clear here, the hot lunch I speak of is nothing more than a fundraiser by the PAC, is delivered once a week for $3.50 and consists of either pizza from a local pizza place (Panago) or a hot dog.
So it was with very eager delight that she pulled out the order form from her backpack a scarce 30 seconds after greeting me from her class to show me.
"See, mom, you can do it if you want..... if maybe you had the money, you could do it". I looked down at her eager, hopeful face and was glad I could tell her yes, she could do it. Her face lit up, she clapped her hands and jumped for joy. I laughed to see how happy she was over such a small thing.
What's more though, I could read in her anxious wait for my answer her hesitation, Do we have the money for this? I know that's what is going on through her mind because we have had to stress a lot lately that we can't afford everything that they want to buy or do.
I think that it's a good thing for her to be aware of the limitations that we have with money. I think the key is not to stress her out about it. I don't ever want her to be lying awake worrying that we might not have money for the food on the table, clothes on her back or roof over her head. It's a delicate balance.
I either read somewhere or was told by someone that the key is to talk about is and isn't in our budget versus not having money for that. For example: "Sorry honey, we can't buy that toy because it's not in our budget." I think it's good for her to start to be aware that money doesn't grow on trees, that mommy and daddy have to work to get it and that we only get so much to cover our needs and wants. My MIL says that is what they did with their boys and their boys grew up to be frugal. Which is true. (Although on a side note, I have to say my husband is a bit of a cheap charlie, something which I've been breaking him out of. *wink*)
Still even though I believe it's a good thing, as a mom it does give my heart a little lurch when I see her anxiously waiting to hear whether or not I'm gonna let her buy a $3.50 lunch, hoping against hope that I'm not going to say no.