Money: Play & Learn
As a parent, you are your child’s first (and most constant) teacher. As such, you have the opportunity to instill values and share knowledge at a very young age- and to keep it going as your kids grow.
When it comes to money, much of how a child will approach money management and debt as they grow into adults is learned behaviour. Take the opportunity now to instill these valuable lessons during a stage where they are most likely to take root and stay put.
Also, you are more likely to have your child’s attention if you can turn your money lessons into a game.
The most well-known of money games, this one has been around for generations- and there is a reason why. It appeals to numerous age brackets, and allows the whole family to get in on the fun. In recent years, they have come out with various special editions, including those with specific geographies, as well as junior editions to entice the younger set.
Lessons here include budgeting, investment and cash flow. This game is great because it is tactile, giving kids actual bills to hold in their hands. They can connect decisions that they make with the amount of money left. It teaches prudent, strategic action with money, as well as suggesting that you “win” if you are able to hang on to your money as a consequence of money-wise decisions.
Send your Child on “Errands”
Does your child like to play house or imaginary games? Try to fit in a trip to the bank and to local shopping mall as stops along their imaginary game route. Help them understand the relationship between having cash in hand and spending it- and the whole notion when it is gone, it is gone.
Putting it in this kind of context, where they can take the reins is really effective, and will help make the lesson stick.
In the same imaginary vein, get your hands on a toy cash register and some money (pretend, or you can even use the real thing). Give your child a set amount, and invite them to make “purchases” around the home. They can get used to budgeting and to making change, etc.
Again, this helps to drive home the concept of value and of limits when it comes to money.
Stick em Up
Make magnets with coins to stick on your fridge. This places the coins in frequent view for your kids, and allows them to get familiar. Spend time ordering them and counting so that kids can understand the differences.
Roll it out
Have your child help you roll spare change. Begin by sorting all the coins into piles, and then discuss what each one is worth.
You can extend the lesson, by allowing the child to keep the money that they have rolled. Afterwards, the bank to either translate this activity into bills to be kept at home in a piggy bank or something similar. For older kids, have them deposit the money into their own account.
Not only are you helping them understand the different denominations and values, you can help attach the value of time for a chore to an associated compensation.