When I was in elementary school, my teacher said to our class: "You won't know what life is really like until you start working, earning money and paying bills!" I obviously did not understand it at that time, but I certainly can attest to that now!
As we've emphasized several times in our blogs, children need to have a solid foundation of money so that they can become financially literate when they grow up. A critical part of this education is from parents, who must themselves be responsible and wise when it comes to money management. We have suggested several activities and resources for parents to use with their kids...well, now it's about to get real!
Give your children special tasks and assignments and pay them for their work. We're not talking about typical chores like walking the dog or cleaning their rooms because these are expected of them as they are part of the family. We're also obviously not suggesting dangerous labour like installing drywall or repairing electrical wiring(!), but we're referring to simple, age-appropriate jobs like being a little waiter/waitress at your friend's baby shower or helping out with buying groceries for elderly neighbours. Make these unique opportunities into a valuable lesson and a fun experience for your kids to earn money.
Working for money will give children a new sense of appreciation of it. When they're given the money, they won't value it as much as when they've had to earn it. See for yourself how your child's behaviour is different after they worked hard for it; you might be surprised. They will probably think twice now about asking you for that $100 Lego set! Check out this article from Huffington Post; it highlights the importance of teaching kids about earning money and its value.