5 Fun Ways To Teach Your Kids About Money

July 04, 2019

5 Fun Ways To Teach Your Kids About Money

As shopping season kicks into high gear, it might seem like cash is on everybody's mind-- however, that doesn't mean our kids have a grasp on it. Do you want to teach them how?
Here's what we understand about general developmental turning points. 
T. Rowe Price's Parents, Children and Money Research, says more than two-thirds of parents still have some apprehension to discussing money with kids. Almost as many of these parents only speak about it when their kids ask.

This may bite us in the butt later. The very same research study exposed that parents who talk with their kids once a week about money are considered most likely to have kids who are sensible about money. And those who let their kids choose when to save and invest their money by themselves, gain significant benefits. These kids are less likely to blow their money as quickly as they get it and lie to their parents about what they spend money on. They also display less materialistic habits like expecting parents to buy them what they desire when they desire it.

However, exactly what sort of knowledge are your kids ready for and at what general ages?

Here's what we understand about general developmental turning points. 


By age 3: Kids begin to find out counting and comparing (which is larger, smaller sized, much heavier).

At age 4: They comprehend shopping and that you use money to purchase things.

At ages 5-6: They start to understand the idea of exchange-- that you need to buy a product before you take it out of the store. They understand you cannot utilize that money again or make a different  choice.

At age 7: They begin to see face value. More adolescent kids will pick 5 cents over a nickel. By 7, they get that they're the same. This is when lessons about generating income become clear. They see that they can exchange time for money. Coin counting worksheets are great for this age.

At age 8: Kids are able to separate the present from the future. That's essential as we start to discuss investing for tomorrow.

So, how do you make certain the lessons stick? Here are a couple of standards for young children through grade school kids.
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Let Them Play With Money

Today, in our world, money is less noticeable than it's ever been. We're paying with swipes, PayPaling our friends, transferring checks immediately, and trading in cryptocurrencies. Lots of grownups can't grasp this, so we can't assume kids can. They have to see money and use cash.

Start with four clear containers (I use mason jars). One to represent a checking account, one for short-term savings, one for giving to others and one for long-term investing. Some households-- especially when their kids are young-- divide the cash into thirds. Others put one-quarter into saving and giving and the other half into spending. Let them control this process. It's extremely important that the kids use the cash to purchase things (more on that in a minute).

Enable Them To See Their Goals

Saving money just for the sake of saving doesn't work. Your kids need to be saving for something tangible. Help them make a goal and find out for how long it will take them to reach that goal. For my 6-year-old, I like to help him pick a toy on Amazon with a realistic price tag. We develop a goal chart-- like a thermometer-- breaking it into benchmarks  (like days, or weeks, or for young kids, "Brush My Teeth"-- the number of "teeth brushings" until I can purchase those Pokemon cards).

Be Sure They Have Cash

There are a variety of methods kids get cash: Birthdays, the tooth fairy, earning it or an allowance. Many parents approach allowance incorrectly. An allowance has to have a list (that grows as your kids get older) of things you are not going to buy for them. Things that your kids need to purchase themselves. For really young kids, this might be the "buy me that" items in the checkout line at the supermarket. When kids get older, it might be things like fidget spinners. For teenagers, it could be gas for the car and their clothing (the allowance has to grow to cover a realistic quantity of these things).

I believe beginning a system for kids to earn money should begin when a kid starts school. You can begin with a dollar or more and increase a dollar a year.
What you're teaching with this is :
a) that cash is limited-- they have so much, and they need to decide the best ways to utilize it, much like grownups do, or are supposed to :-)
b) that they need prioritize what things are essential to them.

Reward charts are a perfect way to show kids how to earn money, but most charts use stars and smiley faces. Stars don't buy Pokemon cards, Shopkins and ice cream. Try using a Cash Reward Chart that uses real money.

Enable Them To Get More

Even if your kid is saving for a reasonably affordable toy or experience, at $1 or 2 a week, that can take a long  time-- especially if you're asking them to save or give a portion of that weekly cash. The point is that you want them to be successful in their effort to save for something and not give up out of frustration. So, you can do some things to assist them. Match their short-term savings: You can assist them by beginning a home-grown 401(k), basically matching their savings to assist them to get to their objective quicker. Or you can issue bonuses for getting a chore done all days in a row for the week.

Offer Them Random Side Jobs

Create some one-off tasks that they can handle to make extra cash (pulling weeds). We want to set them up for success, but also create a motivating environment to instill a work ethic. I like to come up with extra tasks to earn money faster around birthdays, Mother's Day and daily outings. Buying a birthday present for a sister with earned money brings loads of pride. 

Lastly, there's another guideline you need to follow, especially with young kids-- because if you don't follow it when they're young, it's much more difficult to do once they get older. Do not bail them out. If they purchase something with their allowance or savings and have regrets, or if they lose a couple of dollars, there are lessons there-- do not provide a loan to purchase another ice cream because they picked the wrong flavor.



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