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How working parents can raise empathetic kids

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Sarah Kee, financial literacy coach and founder of social enterprise FinKAB, believes letting children know how their parents bring home the bacon goes a long way in achieving success. FinKAB is a Hong Kong-based social enterprise offering financial literacy education to children.

With people working longer hours than ever before, working parents spend less and less quality time with their kids at home. Many children don’t understand why parents spend so much time away from them at work, and at times, may behave badly to attract their attention.

Rather than nagging their kids, parents could try putting kids in their own shoes. Here is what you can try to let your children feel how you feel.

1. Bring your kids to work
Seeing is believing! More and more corporates organise fun days in the office to allow parents to bring their kids to work. Not only do kids get to know parents’ work environments, they also get to experience how daily family expenses, for example, meals, school buses, holiday trips, etc, are being paid for or financed via hard-earned salaries from working.

2. Let kids see your utility bills
Kids need to realise at an early age that electricity and water is not a given. It’s not a coincidence that a lamp just lights up when you toggle the switch or that water just runs when you turn on the tap.

These invaluable resources come with a price tag. Parents can show them how to read utility bills and explain to them how utilities form part of the family expenses. With time, kids will appreciate and treasure whatever that is available to them. They will know how to appreciate air conditioning on a hot summer day!

3. Plan your next family trip with your kids
Instead of you planning the trip, why not share the workload (fun!) with your kids by engaging and involving them during the planning process? A trip doesn’t need to be an overseas one, a weekend trip to an outlying island is good enough to get the job done.

Walk them through the planning process, for example, plan for commutes, things to do/see, things to bring along with them, etc. Make it fun and inspire them to think outside the box.

Let kids realise that a smooth and enjoyable family travel experience is not a given. It involves careful consideration, planning and, of course, money as well. Very soon kids will learn to think in your shoes and be empathetic.

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