Children asking for cheaper gifts

Children are handing back pocket money and asking for more modest birthday and Christmas presents to spare their parents during the economic downturn.

Far from being a generation looking for a free handout, youngsters today are increasingly aware of the need to be responsible when it comes to money, Asda said.

Many are taking matters into their own hands. Almost half earn their pocket money by doing chores, and a quarter of 12 to 18-year-olds already have a part-time job, the report by Asda Mumdex found.

One in five in the same age group have even offered to give some of their pocket money back to their parents, and over a third have asked for fewer or cheaper presents for Christmas and birthdays.

More children also have entrepreneurial ambitions. A quarter of eight to 18-year-olds want to start their own business, Mumdex said, and name people such as Sir Richard Branson, Lord Sugar and David Beckham among their role models.

Parents also believe that the recession has made their children more financially savvy and responsible.

Two thirds of mums of youngsters between 12 and 18 say their children are aware that the family is having to watch the pennies, while half believe they are more aware of money and its value as a result of the economic gloom.

Many children are helping their parents save when it comes to shopping, telling them about promotions in supermarkets and helping them shop online.

But parents want schools to play a bigger part in teaching their children about finance and budgeting.

Three quarters of mums say these things are the most important skills children need to lead happy and successful lives, but only 20% of mums feel schools are currently fulfilling this role, and only 31% trust them to do so.

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