Kirstie Allsopp has sparked a debate about how to teach kids the value of luxuries after she revealed she sometimes flies in business class and gets her children economy seats.
The TV presenter and mum-of-two explained her reason for doing so was that “club class should be huge treat that you’ve worked for,” adding “if kids get used to club class what do they have to work towards?”
Allsopp added that to give her children, Bay, 12, and Oscar, 10, such privilege at an early age was “very spoiling” and she didn’t want to waste money.
Her comments have sparked disagreement among parents over whether they would take this approach with their kids.
Some parents agree with Allsop in principal but believe her choice of action takes things too far. Tami Briesies, 26, who has one daughter, tells HuffPost UK: “I think flights are a bit extreme, what could a child possibly do to earn that? Teach them responsibility absolutely, but in some instances it’s just not necessary. Don’t you [as a parent] work for your kids to have a life with reasonable comfort?”
Mother-of-three Toni Hargis says: “I do agree with Kirstie’s principle,” but adds that she hasn’t always done the same. “I always used to take my kids with me in business (when I was paying with air miles).”
While Melissa Smith believes you can teach kids to appreciate luxury while sharing the fruits of your labour with them. “We’ve been lucky enough to upgrade most flights with our twins from early on - our belief is to show them what hard work can give you in life and appreciate special things as a family,” she says.
But Pete Smith, 31, who is a father-of-two, says: “By that logic, why are the children allowed to go on holiday at all?”
Although the parents we spoke to had differing views on flying with children, they all agreed that children need to be taught about the value of money from an early age.
“There has to be an exchange between working hard and being able to afford things you want,” says Smith. “Delayed gratification is something we’re currently trying to teach our children.”
Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum adds: ”Kirstie is right that it’s important to show children that pricey items come at a cost, be that hard work or time invested in getting them. If your child wants an expensive luxury item, it’s far wiser to make them ‘work’ for it doing chores of earning pocket money than simply gifting it.
Recently Hargis has been making her son contribute to his “very expensive” birthday present, saying: “I make sure they don’t get everything they ask for.”
Freegard says that not only will this teach children a good work ethic but it also helps them to assess which luxuries are worth the graft and which are “hyped up” and not worth the effort. “This will stand them in good stead in an increasingly materialistic society”, she adds.
“No matter how much money you have, it can’t buy love, so it’s better yo give your kids time in economy than fly first class without the attention they deserve.”