Teaching your kids about money will give them the vital life skills that the schooling system lacks. A lot of my clients have young families, or will do in the future, so i wanted to give you all a few ideas to educate your children about money and finance from a young age.
It has been shown that most people in their 20’s who are competent money managers were taught about money by their parents. Of course, it’s up to you what you want to share with your children in terms of what you earn, what debt you have etc, but teaching them about what it means to earn money, save or invest money will lay a great foundation.
In general the activities i’ve put together would suit children aged 4 – 12 years old, but you just might need to adapt some of the activities depending on your child’s age.
1. Decorating Money Jars
A great activity to start with younger kids is to create Spend and Save jars. When giving your child money (whether that money is earnt by doing chores is up to you) try and give it to them in coins so that they can decide with some guidance from you how much to put in each of the jars.
To get them excited about the process get them involved in decorating the jars. A cheap way to do this is to pick up some jars from somewhere like red dot or Kmart. Alternatively, you could use some empty jam jars.
To get started you can write “Spend and Save” with permanent marker on the jars, and then let the kids decorate with stickers, pieces of ribbon or any other craft materials you might already have around the house.
2. The Sorting Game
This one that is good for younger children, as it is a little simpler. Basically, all there is to it, is that you get a decent amount of loose change (maybe from your swear jar) and let your kids sort them into different piles for each denomination. As you are playing, you can talk about how much each one is worth – and what that might be able to buy.
3. Create a Savings Chart
If your child is looking to save up for something, especially something that will take a bit of time to save for, creating a savings chart can be a wonderful motivator. The easiest way to do this, is to open a word document and insert your chosen Clip Art illustrations. You can print out the picture and then divide it up into increments depending on the value of the savings goal.
Your child can then colour in part of the picture as they reach each mini-goal so they can visually see how far away they are from reaching their target. Alternatively you can visually represent it as a race, as your child gets closer to their target, the closer their chosen monopoly figurines (for example) get to the finish line.
4. Write a wish list
For the slightly older kids who are able to write, this activity is similar to when some children might write a list for Santa. However, instead of a list of gifts, this list is of things your child wants to do with their money. To make it visual, you can print out pictures of things from their lists. Spending time with them to work out which items on the list they want the most, helps to rank them in priority as to what they are wanting the most.
5. Find old toys to sell or donate
If your place is anything like mine was when my kids were younger, we ended up with a room overrun by toys. A few times a year it is good to have your children go through their toys and anything they have outgrown and can’t be handed down to younger siblings should be gathered up.
Work together with your child to determine if the items are able to be re-sold or if they should be donated. Have your child help with getting their items ready to sell and if they are old enough let them help to take the photos, for places like Facebook marketplace or E-bay. If you are comfortable with it, let your child keep some or all of the proceeds of the sale (but be sure to recommend they save some of it).