Finances. As adults, most of us dread this word. Can I get an AMEN? It brings a whole host of baggage with it; budgeting, spending, savings, debt, checking account, savings account, investments, retirement accounts, and the list could go on and on.
If I would have learned some basic skills at a young age, some of my decisions and choices about money would have led me down a different path. That is one reason my first career was in finance. Setting yourself up for success is the true key to financial contentment. Notice how I used the word “contentment”. It’s not about becoming rich. It’s about becoming smart with your dollars. So, how do I explain this or help my child start this process early on?
You go to the grocery store. Your child wants everything in sight and they don’t understand why 3 boxes of gushers are not going in your cart. You say no for the millionth time.
A conversation may start like this: I understand that you want things but everything costs money. Money is something that we exchange for the value of something else. Sometimes it is called cash. It is green and we call them bills or coins. Other times, we pay with a card (show them). Most children need to connect words to objects. When we get to the check out, I will give you the card/cash/coins etc. to pay the cashier.
#1: TALK ABOUT IT! Use financial language (cash, coins, savings accounts, checks) when speaking with your child. Tell them where the money goes when you receive it. It goes to pay the bills, electricity, rent, groceries, etc. Help explain what each word means. Spending cash. The cold hard green stuff. If you don’t have it lying around (I mean who does), draw it, explain it.
#2. Get involved. As pointed out in our scenario, you can be interactive with your child and money. If you go to an ATM, explain that it does not give you an endless supply of money. That money is linked to your personal account.
#3. Guide them. Give some guidance by setting a budget once they obtain money. If you are able, you could set up an allowance. Give room for mistakes! We have all had that impulse buy we later regret. Working with money is a process and takes years to master.
RESOURCES TO HELP:
Websites, Games & Information on Money
Money as You Grow: Advice for Parents and Caregivers
Money doesn’t have to be scary and it won’t solve all of our problems. However, it can be a great contributor to contentment. So talk about it. Be real. And remember money, when managed intentionally, can give us the opportunity to live life to the fullest.
Grade Levels: K-6
- 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
- 6-8 yrs (primary)
- 9-11 yrs (elementary)
- Social Skills
- Parent Led Activity
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Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 02/09/2021