Finances Just for Kids

  • By Jillian Taylor-Mancusi

 

One of the most important life skills you can teach your child is how to handle money wisely. Even very young children can learn to be smart money managers. Try some of these fun ways to explore finances for kids to help your child learn concepts like how to earn, save, and spend money.

Make Saving Fun

Saving for a small purchase like watercolors or stickers helps children understand value and patience. Make it fun by turning a small jar or box into a bank. Decorate the container together and then find a place of honor for your child’s new bank.

You can also help your child understand how much they need to save to reach their goal.  Trace the outline of the coins that need to be saved and have your child color in each outline after they make each deposit. Once the goal is achieved, go shopping together and celebrate your child’s hard work!

Take Your Toddler Shopping

Small children love to shop, and the grocery store is the perfect place to practice making and living within a budget. Take your child shopping on a day when you can have an unhurried experience. Before you head to the store, make a list from this week’s grocery ads. Choose just 4 or 5 items that you need, then cut out pictures of items that belong on your list. Glue the pictures to a piece of paper—this is your shopping list.

Once you get to the store, allow your child to find each item and place it in the cart. Check off each item as you find it. Be sure to stick to your list! That’s an important habit to form, even for adults.

If your child is old enough to do basic math, take the time to do a little comparison shopping. Choose the less expensive option and together, deposit the savings in your child’s bank. Your child will quickly learn it pays to be a smart shopper.

Learning From an Allowance

If your child is in elementary school, a small allowance is a good teaching tool. Teachers and financial experts agree that it’s best to set an allowance amount that’s unrelated to chores or behavior.

You can pay your child a fixed amount each week or month, your child can begin to practice saving, setting goals, and budgeting. A chart or ledger is a good visual aid and will help your budding money manager keep track of saving and spending goals.

The Value of Things That are Free

Children can also learn that sometimes, something that doesn’t cost money is nicer to give or receive than something that costs a lot. A card or note received from a loved one living far away can become a treasured possession. Many happy grandparents proudly display beautiful drawings received from their grandchildren. The important lesson to learn is that spending money is not as important as kind and caring thoughts.

Finance for kids can be fun when the whole family works together to learn important new habits that help build solid money management skills.

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