Is it ever too early to start teaching our children about money? I think you can take advantage of many teachable moments, even when they are very young. But how do we teach them? I am no expert here, but here are a few suggestions:
*Our children watch us and learn, so being a good role model with your own money is a good start! This certainly dawned on me this summer while out rummaging with my youngest. We got on the role of picking up a book here and there at rummage sale at a mere $.25-$.50 each. Great deal, happy child. However, as the summer progressed, each rummage sale we stopped at he wanted to pick out a book. We had PLENTY of books at home and although a great deal, it still wasn't a good idea to purchase more books. It took a while in the learning process for me to teach him this. And in turn it taught me a bit about myself. (Can anyone say, Target clearance?!)
*Read them books about money! There are some great kids books out there that touch on money. It can draw their interest in and start good conversations. My kids love Berenstain Bears books - there are a couple dealing with money:
*Teach them about coins and dollar bills. Let them hold them, explore them and decipher the differences between. When they are ready, start teaching them the value of each coin/bill and how to count them out. Give them opportunities at the store to count out the change for the cashier.
*Give them money (or make them earn it, whichever you decide) and teach them how to keep it safe. My children used to enjoy holding on to their coins, but by days end the coin would be misplaced. Now we either put it straight into a wallet/billfold or into a piggy bank. If those are not available, Mom or Dad holds onto it until available.
*Let them learn how to manage their money at an early age. Using 3 (possibly 4) principles of Saving, Spending, Giving (possibly investing). Put a portion of all their money into each category! Simply grab 3 jars and label them one each for Saving, Spending and Giving and determine a percentage that will go to each jar when they find themselves with new income.
There are also some fabulous banks available for purchase if you prefer to buy something. Here are just a few:
Money Savvy Pig - offers four compartments in one pig (includes investing)! How easy!
Moonjar Classic Moneybox - Save, Spend, Share!
LDS Girls Tin Savings Bank - offers 3 compartments in a simple tin, made specially for girls.
My Giving Bank - 3 savings banks in one!
*Teach them the difference between 'want' and 'need'. This is a big one, isn't it!
*Price comparison and quality comparison are key as well. While grocery shopping why not allow them to figure out the better deal. Give them all the key information and let them choose. This teaches them how to make wise choices with their money. My kids often want to buy a toy at the dollar store and, as you may know, there are many toys there that do not last long. Teaching them to save their money for a different toy at another store OR looking for toys within the dollar store of a bit higher quality can be tricky, but eventually they start to get it!
*Coupons! Why not show them how valuable a coupon can be. Include them in the clipping of coupons, organizing and use of coupons.
*Set up a savings account at your favorite bank. Show them how to deposit money and how it adds up, as they continue to deposit. (May also consider a checking account for older kids.)
*And when children are old enough, encourage them to get a job. Let them experience the responsibility of earning their income outside the home before they are thrown into the "real world" after college.
*Also be sure to discuss credit cards with older children. If not used properly they can definitely be problematic.
*Let them learn on their own. Now that you have taught them everything you know, take a step back and let them try out all their knowledge. As we all know, there are definitely situations in life we cannot teach in advance or plan for either, they have to learned as we go. Just know that you have given them a full tool belt of information to fall back on!
I would love to hear your money talk tips for your kiddos. What do's and don'ts have you found? What are you trying out now? Any great products out there that you stand behind that are good for helping aide in teaching children about money? Leave a comment or send me an email.