Money. It’s something we all eventually earn and use, but often without much guidance or training. Although its face value is covered in school, wouldn’t it have been nice if someone had given you a few lessons on how to handle money when you were young? While it may be impossible to travel in time, you do have a chance to relive your youth through your children—teaching them the lessons you may have missed yourself. Whether preschoolers or pubescent, here are several simple ideas on how to extend the curriculum and teach your children about financial responsibility and the value of money:
- Talk about where money comes from. Explain how the money you spend comes from the work that you do. Kids need to know it does not just flow endlessly out of bank machines (although that would be nice!)
- Teach the difference between needs, wants, and wishes. Learning the difference at an early age can prepare children to make better spending choices in the future.
- Let kids handle money. Going to the store, market or on an outing? Consider giving your kids a few dollars to spend (which may or may not be part of their allowance.) Try not to interfere too much with spending decisions, even if you disagree. Poor choices often provide excellent learning experiences and opportunities for discussion later.
- Look for teachable moments while grocery shopping. This could include showing kids how to compare unit prices, use coupons & fliers, how to shop on a budget, practice sorting coins, counting their change, or even estimating the total amount of purchases. Money is also the perfect medium to practice those pesky fractions—pennies are 1/100th of a dollar, dimes 1/10th, and quarters speak for themselves!
- When giving an allowance, try giving it in denominations that encourage saving. For example, instead of giving a $5.00 bill, offer two toonies and a loonie and encourage $1.00 to be put aside for savings.
- Consider supporting others in need. Some parents also suggest their children set aside part of their allowance to support a children’s charity or other worthwhile cause.
- Have your kids open a bank or credit union savings account. This is an excellent way to begin forging the habit of savings at an early age. Just be sure not to be too restrictive about letting them withdraw some money. Otherwise they may develop a negative attitude towards saving.
- Hold family discussions about things financial. This can be an excellent time to discuss topics like how cheques and credit cards work
And finally …Teach by example. No matter what you tell your children about money, your own actions speak louder than words. Do you budget? Are you setting aside savings each month for education, retirements, or future purchases? The things your kids hear you say or do about money will have a big influence on the attitudes they form themselves. After all, teaching your kids about money simply makes good cents!
About the author:
As an award-winning educator and Parenting & Youth Coach, Rob Stringer BA, BEd, CPC has spent almost two decades helping kids, teens, and adults meet with success, and live lives they LOVE!. Although based outside of Toronto Ontario, Rob’s coaching practice is global, with clients across Canada, the United States, Australia, and Asia. In addition to Parenting with Intention, he most recently launched, Youth Coach Canada – a non-profit organization dedicated to making affordable professional life coaching services available to youth aged 11-21.
Interested in having Rob speak at your child’s school? For more information on speaking engagements, programs, and upcoming workshops for parents and youth, visit www.YouthCoachCanada.com or call 905.515.9822.