Money and Kids

Anyone who has spent time with children knows that they model what they see. As parents, we quickly learn to watch our language and modify our habits. But when it comes to money, we sometimes forget that our children are watching that too. It doesn’t occur to us that every time we whip out a credit card or go through the drive through, our kids are learning about money… and it may not be the lessons we want to stick! My parents told me “money doesn’t grow on trees,” and I have to admit I’ve said something similar to my own children, but often the lesson ends there.

My children, ages four and seven, are just starting to recognize that they want money, but they don’t yet know what to do with it. I often find change all over the house and money in the toy box. As my girls are growing, their awareness about money is growing too and I realize it is my job to teach them how to use it wisely. That includes saving, spending and giving. If I do it right, these lessons will last a lifetime. Along the way, I think I may learn a thing or two about making smart financial choices too!

6 easy and painless ways to teach kids about money.

  • Make a Coin Jar – This is a fun family activity that teaches kids how to save money. They are more likely to use something they created themselves than a store-bought generic piggy bank.
  • Let kids pay for their own purchase – Yes, the money is still coming out of your wallet, but kids get a huge boost from just handing over the money to the cashier. It gives them a wonderful sense of accomplishment and ownership.
  • Let kids pick out their own school snacks – I allow my kids to pick one healthy snack (like fruit or cheese sticks) and one fun snack (like crackers or granola bars)
  • Give your kids a quarter after you finish shopping at the grocery store and let them pick a reward from the vending machines outside. Even if they don’t get what they wanted, they learn that you need to choose how you spend your money and once it is gone you can’t get it back.
  • Encourage your kids to donate toys they no longer play with to kids who can use them.
  • Show your kids that used can be as much fun as new by letting them pick out something at a local thrift store or yard sale.

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