By Sylvia Juuko
Whenever children break off for the long December holidays, it can be a challenge to keep them meaningfully occupied.
It is important to pick activities that are both educative and entertaining. Such activities require resources set aside to minimise financial pressures.
There are several programmes and initiatives that can keep children busy. Some parents choose to take their children to boot camp activities, which include those that inculcate culture, shape habits and have a religious perspective.
Research before you choose activities
It is important to choose activities that add value to your children’s wellbeing.
Any programme that shapes your child’s outlook, provokes their thinking and influences their ability to make decisions that can impact positively on their lives can be considered. It is crucial to research thoroughly before you send off your child to these activities.
If such excursions do not work for you and you have to stay with the children at home, then games that teach personal finance management could be the best gift your household can have during the festive season.
Life skills for all age groups
There are a number of board games that carry a financial education component. For example, cash flow for kids games by Rich Dad Company are available on the market, as well as online.
The games make it possible for financial lessons to be fun, particularly in this era, where you have to compete with the much hyped video games. Important lifelong lessons from such games are that the children, including adults in your household can practice characters and habits that will help them later in their lifetime.
These games demonstrate key money concepts such as assets, liabilities, managing cash flow and being responsible with money.
Another interesting game that can give your household money lessons to create long–term wealth is Monopoly.
The game teaches the importance of diversification in investment. You can learn to do research to identify investment opportunities that will make you more money. The game also emphasises the importance of investing in assets that generate cash flow.
More importantly, the need to have a long-term perspective to wealth creation is well-illustrated, while you play the board game.
From the moves, it will be clear that if you accumulate wealth, it is not a licence to relax because if the environment around you changes, it is possible to lose all the wealth you have acquired.
As such, Monopoly does not provide money lessons for kids alone, but adults too. Depending on how old your kids are, they can start as soon as they comprehend and are more discerning. For the kids, lessons include counting money, as well as personal financial management.
Another important lesson is using what you have to build and create wealth, given that you start with cash from the bank with the game of monopoly. Those who engage in the game will appreciate that it relates to making day-to-day decisions in your household. To make it more relevant, give live examples to the children regarding how you make such decisions.
Teach children the importance of avoiding what they call hot tips or deals as far as investment is concerned. As the game unfolds, there are equally interesting lessons about payment of bills, as well as setting priorities, given the fact that you cannot have all the money to meet your desires.
Educational games such as Cash Flow or Monopoly help the family to spend quality time together and evoke a competitive spirit among the players. As adults, you can equally use the game to polish your decision-making skills regarding money, as well as planning your finances. You can consider such games as a gift to your children and household.
The writer works with Bank of Uganda
Why kids must play board games
This is not a secret, a family that plays together stays together. Relationships tend to get stronger with constant interaction among parents and children. There are games that teach a lot of life and practical lessons too and that is a bonus.
Some board games provide lessons in life, virtues and good deeds. For example the Game of Life. Of course, there are many business-related board games that may encourage the development of career skills or teach them the value of money, the art of negotiation and risk-taking. An example of this is monopoly.
Reading the instructional manual and discussing the rules with your children serves as a grammar and vocabulary lesson. Non-native English speakers can actually practice and be educated with the English language by merely playing the board game. There are also board games that specialise in teaching grammar.
Board games are just a medium for parents to communicate with their children. Parents can use this time to mentor and get to know their children better.