If you’re a parent, you want your children to develop into financially literate adults. The burden of teaching them about money rests on your shoulders. How can you find age-appropriate materials to help you?
Quite easily. The resources you need to teach kids basic economic lessons surround you daily. Consider the money moves you make regularly, and use these as a starting point for educating your little ones.
1. The Earliest Years — Reach for Piggy Banks
When your children are born, invest in three piggy banks for them. The first piggy represents their spending money. Your child can pull money out of this container at any time. The second represents a medium-length savings goal. Have children save for one year, then use that money, perhaps on a new gaming console. The final piggy represents their college fund, and it will eventually come to hold their retirement kitty metaphorically.
2. The Elementary Years — Use Their Love of Learning
When your children first head off to kindergarten and the challenging “all-day” school, they love learning more than anything. Harness this power by helping them play store with household items and the involvement of family members. Allow your child to select things from around the house to price to sell. Give them a calculator and use real or Monopoly money to make correct change. They’ll master math skills and practice customer service, too.
3. Middle School — Work Your Grocery List
When your children get old enough to do math in their heads, build on their skills at the grocery store. Let your children help you make a list while remaining within budget. While at the store, ask your little ones to find items on your shopping list while staying within a specified price range. If they manage to come in under their estimate, allow them to select a small treat like a candy bar.
4. In Junior High — Visit Your Financial Institution
Depending on where you bank, your institution may offer different account types for children of various ages. Do your homework by contacting your bank in advance to inquire about these. Ideally, you’ll want to open both a checking and savings account. Your child can use the checking account for spending and reserve the other for their goals. When they are younger, it’s best to focus on one priority at a time. As they get older, they can diversify, saving for both a car and the necessary insurance, for example.
5. High School — Access Online Planning Tools
When your child reaches high school, sit them down to discuss budgeting for their higher education expenses. Allow your child to present their input. Some children may prefer to pursue a technical education versus a traditional liberal arts degree, for example. If you’ve established a 529 savings plan for your child, now is the time to discuss it with them. You can cover matters such as who will pay for books and incidental expenses like snacks.
Will you expect your teenager to get a part-time job to help fund their higher education? Will you make financial assistance contingent on maintaining a particular grade point average? Discussing budgeting rules in advance prevents heartache later.
Teach Your Kids About Money at Any Life Stage
As a parent, you’re responsible for teaching your kids about money. By harnessing the power of the resources above, you can create age-appropriate lessons for every life stage.