You can introduce money to children as young as toddlers. Learn simple and easy ways of teaching money to kids with these tips.
I always knew I would teach my kids financial literacy and money. I entered adulthood relatively okay: no debt, but meager savings. I figured a job meant earning money to spend, and that your lifestyle should match your income. I want my kids to know different, right from the start. So when I happened upon the website moneyasyougrow.org, which outlines financial milestones by age as well as activities parents can do with their kids, I bookmarked and pinned the site right away.
Teaching money to kids
The first age group is three- to five-year-olds, and one of the milestones kids that age can learn is that we need money to buy things. Teaching money to kids starts with financial literacy and identifying coins and their value.
I brought out the four coins: a penny, a nickel, a dime and a quarter, and just had him examine them. We pointed out their differences—which coin is the biggest? which one is the smallest? which coin is the thickest? what color is the penny?
(Of course he had to include his pretend coin that a pirate handed out to him for Halloween. Hey, a coin’s a coin, right?).
Then I laid out the four coins, spelled out their names, and wrote down their value next to the name. At this point I doubt he even knows what a cent is, but I figured it helps to mention that different coins have different values.
After we got back from the farmers market, I explained that I gave the vendors coins and money in exchange for food, and that that was called buying things. I really should have had him hand the vendor the actual coins so that he further understands this concept, so I might do that next time.
Over the next few months and years, I plan to go through the activities and find ways of introducing money to children. Next month, for instance, we’ll discuss valuing something that is free, like having a good time at the park or reading a book.
Overall, I want my kids to have a healthy relationship with money. One where money isn’t tied to their worth, but is simply a trade for the time they put in to earn it. I want them to define what’s enough for them, so that just because they earn a million bucks doesn’t mean that they live a millionaire’s lifestyle. And I want them to learn that money is freeing for the choices it offers and isn’t inherently evil; we just need to be smarter about how we handle it.
I’d love for my kids to grow up as little entrepreneurs or workers, whichever they decide, with hardly any debt, and without the pressure to spend or live a certain way but the one that they choose. Hopefully an early introduction to money and how it works will offer them the healthy relationship that I hope they’ll have.
How do you handle money with your kids? Do you discuss money with them?
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