You want to raise children that are financially responsible.
Here are some activities that you can do with your children to
help promote healthy financial growth.
Children can learn about money
at a very young age. You can work on coin identification with
them. Often they learn the names of the coins (penny, nickel,
dime, etc.) before they learn the values. Playing games like
grocery store check-out will help your kids learn about money as
You can rent something such as a movie, or go to
the library for a book or movie with your child. Allow your
child to be responsible for returning it. Paying any late fees
will help children learn the value of money.
give your children money. If they keep it in a certain jar,
perhaps you can pay them interest. Allow them to hold the
interest. You can also do this with penny candies that the
children will value more than coins.
Let your children
put money in parking meters and other small transactions so they
understand the idea behind exchanging money.
At this age you can open up a savings account
with your child at your bank or credit union.
Your child will
probably be curious about money. Take the time to explain things
like receipts to your child. Allow your child to help you
compare prices while you shop.
Help your child make a
rudimentary budget. Discuss the differences between needs and
wants. You can color-code your budget to make it easier.
Help your child learn about charity. You might offer to match
any donation your child makes to charity. You might give your
children money to donate to charity (for instance, money for the
church collection plate, etc).
Middle to Late Elementary
At this age it is appropriate to offer your children extra
household tasks that they can perform for extra spending money.
Make these separate from regular household tasks that they are
expected to perform regularly. You might allow them to clean the
cupboards, the baseboards, or the garage. You might pay them to
help you garden.
You can play games with your children
like Payday or Monopoly that center around money.
Children at this age can be encouraged to compare prices in
catalogs or magazines.
Teach your children about
borrowing money. Consider charging a minimal amount of interest
on money they borrow.
Help your children learn about
saving for an item. If they want to buy something that is more
than they can afford, discuss savings plans. Perhaps you will
offer to pay for part of the item. Perhaps they will save their
money for three weeks to have enough for a purchase. If your
child has set a realistic saving goal, allow him/her to reach it
Allow your child to
research the benefits of various different checking and savings
accounts. Let your child decide what account is best. Help your
children balance their checkbooks at the end of each month.
Help your children understand the ideas of cash and credit.
Help your children save money for their education. You could
perhaps match any savings that they put away.
Teens at this age might have a job. Research
long term financial situations, such as tuition or buying a car,
so your teen can make informed saving and spending decisions. If
your teen is employed, help him/her with taxes.
teen do the grocery shopping, or run other errands. Make sure
they bring a receipt and change for all of the money spent.
Consider giving your teen a pre-paid credit card so they can
learn about how to handle money and they can personally
Calculate gas mileage using the family
car. Consider making your teens pay part or all of their car
Discuss gift-giving and appropriate amounts.
Is it nicer to have a gift that costs more or that is a
thoughtful investment of time?
might feel pressured to offer your child an allowance because
other children in his/her class are receiving one. You might
choose to have your child be paid for performing certain tasks,
rather than a weekly allowance for a continual chore. It is up
to you to whether or not to give your child an allowance.
Discuss the allowance with your children and help them
understand what their responsibilities for spending are.
Remember to have some chores that your children perform because
they are part of the family. Not everything is contingent upon
Things to Remember
It is important to
remember that children will make mistakes with money. Allowing
them to make mistakes is an important part of their development.
This means that they will not make the same mistake when they
are older and have more money.
Be sure that your house is
a money-friendly house. Donít be afraid to talk with your
children openly and honestly about money. You might not need to
share the entire financial situation with your children, but
answer their questions at a level appropriate for their age.
Teaching your children money is about
facilitating their growth into financially responsible adults.
This means that a shift in power takes place. When they are
babies, you are in charge of all of their finances. As they grow
older, you gradually give them more and more financial power
until they are self-sufficient adults. Although it might be hard
to watch them make mistakes, the long-term benefits of watching
them grow into mature spenders and savers will be worth the
investment of time and money.
About the Author:
Morgan James is an editor of
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