10 Smart Ways to Start Teaching Kids About Money

How to help your grade-schooler get a healthy perspective on saving and spending

It’s never too early to start teaching kids about money. Grade-school age is a perfect time for teaching kids about money since children are learning addition, subtraction, and other math concepts at school.

Parents can start promoting fiscal skills, such as saving, with younger grade-schoolers. As children get older, they can begin making some decisions about money themselves, such as deciding how to spend their allowance or helping you decide how to allocate money for a family vacation.

Here are 10 smart tips parents can use to teach kids about money.

1

Play Games That Have to Do With Teaching Kids About Money

Girl with a piggy bank
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Board games such as Monopoly and Life can be a fun way for kids to learn about money. Gather your whole family around your favorite game and let your grade-schooler unleash their inner mogul.

2

Take Your Child Shopping

Teaching kids about money can be a part of regular household routines such as going to the grocery store. Tell your child what your budget is and make a game of buying what you need under that set amount.

Clip coupons, and let your grade-schooler help you find items on sale. A 9- or 10-year-old can bring along a calculator to keep track of your purchases and figure out how much you saved.

3

Give Him an Allowance

By grade-school, kids are able to do more chores and help out around the house. Whether or not you tie chores to an allowance, it's a good idea to get your grade-schooler into the habit of managing their own money.

4

Encourage Her to Save

Make sure your child has a safe place to keep their money. Letting them pick out a cool piggy bank or wallet is a great start.

You might want to give your child three different receptacles for their money, such as glass jars or coffee cans, to help keep it organized: one for saving, one for spending, and one for donating to a charity.

From there, you can decide together how to divide up their weekly allowance between the three jars.

5

Take It to the Bank

Go with your child to the bank and open up an account. This is the perfect opportunity to weave in more advanced financial concepts.

Setting up a savings account, for example, gives you the chance to explain to your child that their money will "grow" in the bank as opposed to sitting in their piggy bank at home.

6

Teach Them How to Talk About Money

Grade-schoolers are often curious about things like how much someone’s house costs or what their parent's salary is. However, they don't usually have a real-world concept of what that number means, and they may not always get the figures right (for example, a child might declare that their family paid $500 for their house).

While you might be comfortable discussing your family's finances with your child at home, gently explain that it’s not polite to ask other people how much money they make or spend. You may also want to discourage your child from discussing your family's finances with friends or classmates.

7

Curb TV Time

Kids can be subjected to an astounding number of commercials in a very short span of TV time.

Adults have trouble fighting the influence, so how can you expect a 10-year-old (much less a 5-year-old) to be immune to the enticing allure of the latest toy or kid-gadget?

While you can't control how much media advertising your child is exposed to when they're watching TV or surfing the web, you can put a limit on how much media time they have each day.

8

Explain Credit Cards and ATM Cards

Younger grade-schoolers may think that money comes out of ATM machines or that you can simply pay for things with a credit card.

Even older grade-schoolers may not fully understand what it means to use credit (that paying for things with a card can often mean paying interest).

Explaining the concept of credit early and reinforcing it often will help kids mature into financially informed young adults who will be ready for the responsibility of a credit card or loan.

9

Set a Good Example

As with so many things, what you do matters. Your financial behavior will set an example for your kids. For example, never lie about purchases to your spouse.

It's also important to always put purchases into context and emphasize that material goods are not what make people happy.

Remind your child that some of the most valuable things in life—like spending time together—are free.

10

Teach Generosity

No lesson about money is complete without some discussion about charity. Help your child put money in perspective by showing them that things like the love of a family, having enough to eat, and a roof over your head are invaluable.

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