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Prepare your children for economic hardships

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By Dickson Tumuramye

From the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic that grossly left many people jobless, to the skyrocketing commodity prices, Ugandans are facing challenges of an economic crisis.

The prices of some essential commodities like soap, oil and wheat keep shooting up alarmingly, being worsened by hiking prices of fuel.

This means some parents are not able to afford their families’ well-being as they had earlier planned.

In some families, there might be already budget adjustments as some regular commodities could be completely scraped off the menu until the economic situation stabilises.

Be open
Occasionally, our children may not be able to understand that the situation is very hard and has affected most of the essential items.

Some children may be bold enough to ask why they no longer receive some things as they used to do before.

And it is very important here, to tell the truth to your children and let them understand that it is a general problem that other families and the nation at large are facing.

Try to avoid lying to your children and playing around their minds yet this is beyond your own control.

Sometimes you do not need to wait for your children to ask you or find out what is happening from their friends or outside home.

It is very important to tell your children the truth and help them understand situations. (NBC News)

It is better you sit them down and share with them what is going on and how this could bring some changes in the family’s expected welfare.

Children need to understand the reason you are unable to fulfill all their needs as usual.

You may have lost a job for some time and you no longer earn, you may be spending too much on treatment of a family member and this has drained your finances.

Either way, they need to know the truth.

Utilise chance to teach
You can use this opportunity to teach them about planning and budgeting or adjustment of both. They also need to learn how to prepare to overcome hardships in life with resilience.

For example, when a child is at school and their pocket money is used up in the middle of the term, yet you do not have money to send to them immediately, should the world come to a standstill and their academics destabilised?

How can they cope with such a situation without affecting their academic performance?

Can our children learn to be patient in situations that are beyond their control as well?

We can prepare them for anything so that in case the situation is tougher than now and our savings or investments have been affected and we are not in a position to provide all their requirements, our children will understand.

It is important for them to know that as a parent, you are always concerned about them.

You always prioritise their needs first, though that does not have to put other things like running family businesses on halt.

When your children are well guided on what is happening and how to handle it, they get to know that you understand their fears and feelings.

They will appreciate the situation, seek to be part of the solutions, stand to pray for you, and be an encouragement as well.

Teach children to live within their means. If you cannot afford a certain life, they need to know that they can adjust accordingly and manage what they can afford at that time.

Discuss together alternative ways of survival. If one finished school and there are no jobs, ask them what else they can afford to do to earn a living.

Let them learn how to think outside the box and the effective use of multiple financing mechanisms.

They can turn these challenging times into opportunities for real growth and change in life.

Expose them to people
Associate them with people who have made it in life and let them learn survival and resilience skills.

Know how other people have made it in businesses, how they have succeeded at the workplace, and how one can have a successful life.

Ask them to learn how to eliminate unnecessary expenses and grow their monthly incomes, how to cut off some daily or monthly bills, and develop a commitment to financial discipline.

They can learn about saving even the little they have and invest it.

The writer is a child advocate, parenting coach, and founder-Men of Purpose.
tumudickson@gmail.com

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