Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money During Quarantine
Hi Taylor: I’ve been trying to be productive with all this extra time I’m spending with my kids. They’re pretty young, 7 and 9, but I’m wondering if there are lessons about money I can try to teach them? - Julie
Hey Julie: I don’t think it’s ever too early to start teaching kids about money. A lot of what you teach won’t stick, but it’s all foundational stuff at this point and absolutely worth the effort. Here are a few simple ways you can get started.
1. Just talk about it. A big part of kids learning to talk is just speaking with them consistently. The same can be said when you start teaching them about money. As you pay for something with a credit card, talk about how that process works. Explain why certain items go on sale and then talk about how great it is to pay less for something. Don’t worry about stuff sailing over their heads, because it’s all part of a process.
2. Make saving fun. Collect all your pennies in a jar and go get ice cream when you have a few dollars. Roll quarters together to show what $10 looks like. Make a chart with goals so every purchase feels like an accomplishment. When we get exhausted by life, we tend to buy toys and video games with haste to provide that instant gratification. If you can make the build-up to the buying enjoyable, you teach a good lesson while spending less in the long run.
3. Explain income. At seven and nine, your children are entering the phase where these lessons will actually sink in. After you tell them how money works, explain how you got the money in the first place. Don’t shy away from talking about salaries and earnings. At some point you’ll have to talk about why some families make more or less than others, so don’t hesitate to touch on the subject early. If you’re open and honest about these topics, it will make all the money issues easier to discuss. You’ll get less pushback on allowances and vacation spending and the budgeting you do will start to have some context in your kids’ eyes.
I take a lot of pride in trying to teach my kids about money, even though sometimes it feels like I’m explaining quantum theory. Keep at it and try to make the process as fun as you can. Thanks for writing!