Our little ones don’t have to wait to learn about money any longer! Did you know that the United States only has 17 states that mandate a personal finance class in high school? In other countries like the UK, Australia, and Singapore, personal finance classes are mandated throughout their entire country. In addition, more than one in six students in the US do not meet the baseline for financial proficiency. According to Beth Kobliner, New York Times bestseller author, and personal finance expert, children can start learning about money as early as 3. By the age of 7, as revealed by research from the University of Cambridge, kids’ money habits are already formed. Learning financial literacy at a young age can help promote math skills and will help our children budget and handle their finances wisely in the future, overall contributing to becoming responsible citizens. So don’t wait until high school for your children to learn about finance, start now! Below are fun, everyday activities that we can do at home (or even in the grocery store!) that will help our children understand the concept of money:
A, B, C, D, E, Finance
- Let your children understand the difference between the values of coins and how many of each value it takes to add up to a dollar. Understanding the value of our currency.
- Hand your child a pile of assorted coins. Their job is to sort them (simple for kids to separate by the way they look).
- Take it a step further: Explain the value of each (a dime is ten cents). Another step is to compare the value of the coin to the dollar (how many dimes is one dollar).
Saving more than boogers!
- Teach your little one the importance of saving money and how it can affect future purchasing decisions. Sometimes you have to wait and save for the things that you want.
- Every time your child does a chore, helps out, or exemplifies positive character traits, give them a coin.
- Have a bag of candy, snacks, or small toys and set a price (E.g. one lollipop is ten cents). As your child earns money, they will have to save up until they have enough to buy the item.
- Take it a step further: multiple bags with different items and values can be used. Either they save for a more expensive prize or they can buy something cheaper
The Three S’s
- Allow your child to learn the difference between saving, spending, and sharing.
- Teaches them the concept that saving is long-term, while spending is short-term.
- Set out three jars separately labeled with saving, spending, and sharing.
- As your child earns coins or money for chores, allowance, helping out, or exemplifying character traits, they place the money equally into the three jars.
- For spending, they can spend whenever they want.
- For saving, have your child pick a toy or a moderately expensive item to save up for.
- Sharing will be either spent on a gift for a friend/family, directly given to a friend, or donated to charity.
- Take it a step further: Have a conversation with your child about the difference between long-term and short-term savings/spending.
Take everything a step further:
- Explain your financial decisions. Let your child know why you buy a certain brand of cracker, or the reason you buy a larger coffee is that the smaller size is almost the same price. Talking about your financial decisions will help adjust their brain to thinking critically about financial decision-making.
- Talk about the difference between a need and want. Give examples of both. (E.g. a ‘need’ is water, while a ‘want’ is a new toy.)
- Discuss what goods and services are. Explain the difference between them with examples. (E.g. a ‘good’ is a hairbrush while getting your hair done is a ‘service.’)