We are in a recession and most people are finding ways to cut costs in everywhere. One sector that has felt the effect of cost cutting is the education sector. Some Parents are having to remove their children from expensive schools and putting them in more affordable schools. In some cases, children who attend schools in the UK or else where in “the abroad” are having to come back to seek alternatives in Nigeria. While this may not seem like a big deal, it may be a big blow to some children’s self esteem, if not well handled. Here are a few ways to help your child deal with a ” down sizing” of finances and a change of circumstances.
Tell them the truth : I remember when my parents had to withdraw me from a very expensive school when I was about 8. It was a lovely school (still is the best in Lagos) but as civil servants with six children dealing with the annual school fees increments was becoming almost unbearable. After they had reached a decision they told me simply “we can’t quite afford your school anymore,so you are changing to another nice school”. They didn’t say anymore and I don’t think giving too many explanations is necessary. When you talk too much,it’s puts unnecessary pressure on your child, just make it plain and simple.
Teach them about finances: Start by playing money games like monopoly with your children. A common game I played with my sister as a child involved a market scene. One of us would be the market woman and the other person the buyer, we haggled and had fun but in the process we learnt the art of “pricing ” (bargaining). You could also get them a piggy bank and encourage them to save part of their allowance in it so they can learn the value of saving money.
Find alternatives: Even when money is tight there are always alternatives. When it comes to schools you may not be able to afford a particular school anymore but maybe you can still afford their after school or summer activities. That way they are still benefiting from their education and still get to see their old classmates. Also take your time to find other schools that are within your price range and will welcome your suggestions in areas where they are lacking. Another example is if Christmas holidays abroad were the norm; if your current finances don’t allow that then plan a fun trip to the village or an exotic location in the country. You will be shocked that the children may end up enjoying it more.
Don’t let too much change: while major changes like change of school may be inevitable don’t change everything if possible! It’s important to let a child ease into change so try only to change what absolutely necessary. They are not responsible for the state of the economy and as much as possible should not feel like they are being “punished”. However you need to always keep things real.
At the end of the day it’s important that everyone comes to terms with their financial reality. While you keep praying for better days ahead, be wise, adjust your expenses and keep calm and carry on.