COLUMBUS -- As each day seems to bring more worrisome economic news, anxiety about the state of the financial world is finding its way into American kitchens, and affecting all members of our families -- including young children.
"One thing we know about kids is that they pick up on parental feelings," says Christine Clark, Editor in Chief of Highlights magazine. "Kids may sense thats omething is going on even if they are too young to understand exactly what." Highlights magazine receives 60,000 pieces of mail from kids each year, from drawings to poems to letters asking for advice. Highlights editors read and respond to each letter, and have for more than 60 years, including those from kids worried about money, their home life and other anxieties. They suggest the following tips for helping children through this uneasy time:
- Parents need to try to manage their own anxiety so they don't convey it to the kids. As a parent, be aware that your fears may cause you to be irritable or distracted. Do what you can to allay your own anxiety. Everyone has different approaches, but whether it's meditating, talking to friends, having a cup of calming tea or getting as much information as possible, try not to let your anxiety interfere with your being a nurturing parent.
- If your kids initiate questions about the economy, be reassuring. Keep things in perspective. There have been ups and downs in the economy over the years, and people get through them. Children will pick up on your emotional state, and if you let them know that no matter what they will be loved and taken care of, that's what they will hear. It may help to share information: on how the stock market works and how banks work.
- Emphasize family togetherness. Remember that for kids having their basic needs met is more important than the things money can buy. Love, shared activities, and communication are not based on money. Saving money and even making sacrifices can feel like an adventure to kids if they feel like everyone in the family is on board.
About Highlights for Children, Inc.
Devoted to "Fun with a Purpose(R)," Highlights for Children, Inc. has helped children become their best selves for generations. Its flagship publication, Highlights magazine, the most recognizable and widely-read children's magazine in the nation, printed its one-billionth copy in June 2006. Other Highlights offerings include Highlights for Children Book Clubs and the Highlights Catalog, a selection of gifts children will love and parents can trust. Online, children can visit http://www.HighlightsKids.com for interactive content related to each issue of the magazine, and parents can visit http://www.HighlightsParents.com for informative articles and suggestions for additional family activities. Corporate offices are in Columbus, Ohio,and editorial offices are in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
For more tips about managing your personal finances, visit Military.com's Finance channel.