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We all know that being financially literate is very important in today’s world and hence it is best that we start early. Many parents try to keep their kids away from financial dealings and realities. They believe that kids should focus on doing well at school and enjoying their childhood and that money matters are best learned in adulthood. But it is proven that the best financial habits are formed when taught early on.
Teaching children about money can be fun — Use day-to-day activities and make every moment a learning moment, or turn complex concepts into games. From toddlers to teens, children have something to learn about money and finances. Start by teaching children what money is actually worth, how it works – how to calculate with money, how to budget, invest, and save.
We have compiled a list of simple activities to teach kids about basic financial concepts like charity, investment, budgeting, saving money, etc.
- Save money in a piggy bank or see-through jar. Label the jar “Savings” and write down a goal or a reward that the child can get when the jar is full. Older children can set up a 3 – block system – each one labelled “Spend,” “Save” and “Donate,”, and child decide where to put the money they receive.
- Indulge in coin rubbing and tracing of different coins. Ask the kids to observe and find as many differences as they can see between notes.
- Commission a piece of art or craft to go on the wall. Tell them that it has to be something they put some work and time into so they really earn the money they make. This will give them an early experience with a financial transaction: trading something they’ve created for a dollar or a few coins.
- Try these 20 Crafts and Activities to get your kids learning about, playing with, and having fun with money.
- Talk about how things cost money to buy. Restrain on using your money and set a healthy example by showing them how to think before you buy.
- Encourage children to draw up a plan – a travel plan or a plan to buy something. The children should list all that they will need to execute the plan and then choose what they MUST most definitely take and what they can leave out. Older kids can draw out budgets (this spreadsheet can help) and savings to execute the plan.
- Watch YouTube videos that teach children about money.
- Conduct a “Saving Contest” and encourage your children and their friends to participate. The reward – more money!
- Stress the importance of giving. Teach them to volunteer and be charitable by giving to the less fortunate.
- Encourage children to check bills, calculate tips and pay them (with your money!). Assign older children tasks to keep track of home accounts.
- Discuss the incomes that the family gets and set goals, plans, investments and budgets together. Talk about taxes, insurance, incomes and expenses. Ensure that the discussion and terms are age appropriate. Including older kids in these types of conversations helps to give them hands-on, real-world knowledge of the options available regarding saving for higher studies, saving for a home, and saving for retirement. They don’t need to understand every detail and nuance but they need to learn that these are things they’ll need to do one day too.
- Set up Pretend Shopping nook at home. Use items from the store and take turns to play shopper and cashier.
- Teach about Wants and Needs by quizzing them on items when shopping. For example, if they ask for chocolates, ask them if it’s a want or a need. Repeat the question with milk (or an item on the shopping list). Needs get added to the cart. Wants stay on the shelf.
- Play games that teach money management like Monopoly (or Monopoly Junior) or Life depending on the age. Board games, online games, and homemade games are all possibilities.
- Play money bingo. Adapt the game to the relevant currency you need.
- Play money-related games online as these are an easy way for kids to grasp basic money concepts. Try Visa’s money games, which are aimed at children of different age groups or learn financial literacy through activities on Flocabulary.
- Encourage them to collect money or coins from around the world and to look up the value of each currency. This is great to help them learn about money on a global scale. Teach them to convert currencies to get them thinking.
- Read books about money or those that teach money concepts. Children’s Books about money are a dime a dozen. Check out this list of some great books (both nonfiction and fiction) that explain the basics of finance that can help to start children on a path of successful money management as they grow.
- Pay them some amount based on chores they do around the house like taking out the trash, cleaning their room, or washing the dishes. This will help your kids understand that money is earned—it’s not just given to them.
- Foster financial independence. Teens can earn money over their holidays or weekends by working or by starting a business around their areas of interest.
- Let your kids make their own spending decisions, even if it means making mistakes and wasting their money. It’s a valuable teaching tool. However, be ready to step in and help guide them when they need it.
- Teach them that money is important and needs to be managed, but it is not everything. Show them how we need to be content and not attach ourselves to money.
- Model good financial habits:
- By not giving in to the latest fads and avoiding impulse buys.
- By choosing to buy items that satisfy the function and comfort and not opting for a particular brand.
- Choosing to buy at garage sales when required.
- Pass on used items to others or donate them.
- Cook and eat at home, instead of eating out.
- Teach your child not to get swayed by ads and just because something is advertised, doesn’t mean you should get it.
- Learn to say and stick to “No” when you have to.
- Stay away from the lure of credit cards and loans and try to earn scholarships.
Financial education, a very important life skill, is not part of most school curricula, which means it’s up to parents to teach their children good money habits and set them up for success. We all want to see our kids thrive, so it is never too early to start teaching your kids about personal and family finance.
LearnTalkMoney.com has loads of awesome resources for children as well as parents. Do check it out!
Check out this Ultimate Resources for Teaching Kids About Money What are you doing to help your children prepare to handle their finances responsibly?