Watching my kids grow up is bittersweet. On one hand I am so excited for them to experience the world on their own and take charge BUT on the other hand I selfishly want time to stand still so they can be my babies for a little longer. I can get caught up in the frenzy of school and activities that I sometimes forget just how big they are getting.
As I slowly encourage their independence outside the home, I enthusiastically encourage it at home when it comes to organizing their things, cleaning up after themselves and helping out around the house. The big kids can be trusted to pick out their own clothes for school and get ready in the mornings with a tiny bit of guidance from me, of course. As much as I let them do at home; I know I have to start preparing to give them more responsibility and ownership of their little lives, especially Ryder.
Ryder started a new school all the way uptown so he is in a new neighborhood and feels like he is on his own a little more these days. He isn’t quite old enough to ride the subway by himself yet but we are slowly and cautiously giving him more room to be his own person and take care of himself, like letting him to go our corner bodega store on his own.
One of the most important lessons I can teach my big boy, and all my children is how to be financially responsible. We have given the kids an allowance in the past as more of a novelty for them, but this is something I really have to think about now. I usually give Ryder a few bucks when he goes on playdates after school so he can buy a water and snack if he wants. But there are times I forget and don’t have cash on me, and I recently discovered Greenlight which is the perfect solution for my growing boy!
Greenlight is a debit card for kids that parents can manage from their phones! Parents can restrict the card usage and allocate allowance from a phone. We do everything else from our smartphone why not give our kids their allowance! Asking my nine-year-old to keep track of cash isn’t realistic but if he has his own debit card he will feel very grown up, yet I am still able to help and manage his money. He will also have a version of the app (when he is allowed to use his own phone) so he can check the balance.
The Greenlight app is incredibly easy to use and the service is only $4.99 per month for up to 5 kids per account. You can divide the funds into two categories: money they can spend anywhere and money they can ONLY spend at certain stores or types of stores that have been parent pre-approved. You are basically giving your kid the “green light” to spend. If your child tries to spend at a non-approved store or goes over their limit they are declined. Giving Ryder his own debit card teaches him about money management and spending—and that there are limits.
Greenlight debit card is a great tool for parents to teach their kids about spending, saving and the importance of money management. I am excited for Ryder to feel a sense of independence. He already seems more mature with his own card and he has been behaving like a real big kid since we gave him this feeling of financial freedom.