4 Ways to Influence the Spending Habits of Your Grandkids

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“Anything for my grandbaby.”

How many times have you said this? And did you mean it? Well of course you did! Grandkids are basically the best. They’re precious little creatures who absolutely adore you.

You can see them whenever you want—with in-person visits or through the wonder of technology—and you can send them back to their parents whenever you need. There really is nothing like it.

And so even if you can’t provide any and everything for that sweet grandbaby, you’ll surely try.

Stuff vs. Stuff To Do

As we think of all the things our grandparents gave us—gifts for Christmas and birthdays, a $20 bill here and there, treasured family heirlooms—it’s the things they taught us that matter more.

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Sometimes the teaching was hands-on and intentional. Maybe grandpa showed you around his woodshop, let you use his tools, and helped you build your first piece of furniture. Maybe grandma walked you through her favorite recipes, shared the tricks to getting them right, and instilled in you a love for food and family.

Other times we learned from watching. Like Rachel Cruze says in the Smart Money Smart Kids class, “More is caught than taught.”

“More is caught than taught.” —Rachel Cruze

As grandparents, you’re no longer the ones doing the catching. You’re the ones being watched. If you really want the best for your grandkids, you’ll use your influence for good.

Set the Example

Instead of giving them anything, you can show your grandkids how to handle what they’re given. To do that, you may need to replace normal grandparent behavior with above-average, intentional, you-know-they’re-watching action.

1. Instead of taking the grandkids on a spending spree or showing up with trinkets galore, do this:

Bless your grandkids if you’re able. That’s a great feeling! Still, be sure that you don’t buy so much stuff that you undermine their parents’ means or philosophies. Maybe you could bring one toy instead of an entire suitcase.

And when you give, say something like, “I’m giving you this special treat because I want to bless you. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I hope you’ll also remember that it’s a treat and not an expectation.”

2. Instead of feeling guilty if you don’t have much money to spend on your grandkids, do this:

Look for ways to add lasting value. Teach your grandchildren a new skill. Encourage their talents. Ask questions about what they think of the world and how they hope to make it a better place.

When appropriate, weave in conversations about money. Talk about how money is handled differently today than when you were growing up—as well as why that’s both good and bad. And remember, your grandkids will remember time spent with you more than anything else.

Related: 9 Ways to Teach Your Kids (or Grandkids) About Money

3. Instead of correcting the spending habits of your adult children, do this:

Watching your adult children make poor choices when it comes to money hurts. It’s even harder when you know your grandkids will be affected. Look for appropriate ways to insert wisdom.

You may wait for them to ask questions, or you can casually offer to send them through Smart Money Smart Kids, a six-lesson class about parenting and money. This class is bound to motivate behavior change in both your adult children and your grandchildren. Family tree: changed.

4. Instead of letting your grandkids do whatever they want, do this:

Grandparents who babysit should feel free to laugh when parents would normally scowl. It’s your reward for giving their parents a night off.

So offer extra ice cream or an extended bedtime ritual and there’s no harm done. Be careful, though, to uphold the rules of the house regarding money.

We teach parents to avoid lending money to their kids, pay commissions instead of allowance, and encourage giving, saving and spending. As grandparents, you should do the same. No bad-mouthing good money rules.

Change a Generation

If you’re passionate about using your wisdom and experience to help others, you don’t have to stop with your own family. You can lead other parents through the new Smart Money Smart Kids class. Your grandkids—and so many other kids—need what you have to offer. Use your influence for good.

Check out the details and consider hosting a class in your home, church or local coffee shop.

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