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Q: At what age should my grandsons be expected to begin setting goals, using their time wisely, and saving money systematically?
A: The questions you ask are as closely related to environment as they are to a child's age. A child who is around adults and significant others who do well at these skills will learn from those role models and will begin to do those things himself. Many people grow to adulthood without learning to set goals, use time wisely, and save money.
In general, very young children (ages four to five) can be shown how to save money. As soon as a child is given an allowance or money for birthdays, he can be encouraged to save a portion of that money.
Setting goals -- such as making a 100 on a spelling test -- can be seen in children in the mid-elementary grades. But kids this age still need help in setting realistic goals - a child's career goal might be a combination of firefighter and neurosurgeon!
Using time wisely can still be troublesome for middle- and high-school students. Again, seeing the adults in their lives lead by example can show adolescents how to develop this skill.
All children can be encouraged to develop good habits. Setting a good example and helping your grandsons develop these traits gradually will lead to their becoming proficient in them.
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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.