As a parent, you’re tasked with the responsibility of teaching your little ones everything they need to know about fundamental concepts in life. Thanks to you, they’ll be able to tell right from wrong, they’ll understand how cause and effect works, they’ll be able to comprehend what love is, what responsibility feels like, and more. In their early years, they’ll start familiarizing themselves with the importance of honesty, friendship, and commitment. But that’s not all that they’ll have to learn.
Sooner or later, your kids will have to become familiar with money and how the material world works. Although you may be tempted to keep everything materialistic away from them while they’re children, it’s only in their best interest that they gain this necessary knowledge early on. As adults, you’ll probably agree that being smart about money is extremely advantageous in life. But the reality is that less than 50% rate themselves successful in managing their own personal finance.
Well, let’s see what we can do to prevent our kids from falling into this category. In this article, we’ll show you how you can easily teach your little ones to save money and develop the financial awareness that they’ll need to be successful adults with a comfortable way of living.
Explain the concept of money
It all starts with a story or an easy to understand explanation. At a young age, children are not burdened with the material world and have a completely different perception. To them, adults are the only ones who make the decision whether or not they can have something and this decision has nothing to do with money.
You can gently start explaining that in order to have something material, one must pay for it with money. This can be cleverly done via the use of children’s books on the topic, songs, and even games. It’s best to start doing this before the child turns seven and goes to school. It’s best if your little ones have started forming money habits before that age. Show them what a penny or a dollar looks like and give examples of what they’re worth. You can use some of their favorite toys or accessories to back up your example.
For instance, explain how much one of their toys costs and take out real money to show them how much that amount looks in reality. In today’s digital world, it’s easy for kids to get confused. They may form a misunderstanding that whenever you’re paying with a card or online you’re not really paying. Introduce money early on form a habit of thinking about them and talking about them together.
Make saving fun
The next step is to teach your little ones the importance of saving money and make the process fun. Explain that if they wish to purchase something at a later point, they’ll neeed saved money. Try to unfold the concept that money isn’t only for spending. It’s nice to save it for bigger things like a bigger toy or an expensive game that they’re looking forward to. This will not only teach your children financial awareness but will also make them patient and persistent with their goals.
One of the best ways to introduce the concept of saving money is by giving them a fun piggy bank or money box that they’ll fall in love with. A great example is the World’s Cutest Dog Coin Money Box. It’s an incredibly cute way to save money. A robotic doggy “eats” the coins that your kids will insert in the box and will keep it for later. They’re extremely easy to use and a ton of fun for the little ones.
It’s also best to lead by example. Get a saving box for yourself and show the kids that you’re regularly puting in change or money notes for something that you want to buy later. There are also other ways to inspire your kids to start saving. For example, Greenlight or FamZoo are prepaid debit cards and apps that give parents the opportunity to transfer money to their kids and pay them interest.
Create saving games & set goals
For children, even the most complicated tasks and problems become fun once they’re turned into a game. Create a savings game and explain that whoever saves the most money wins something that you know your little one will love. For example, this could be an extra hour per week spent on their phone or a walk out to their favorite park. You know your little one best and it’s up to you to find the right incentive.
Setting goals is also a fundamental element of forming the healthy habit of saving money. Start small with a goal that is easy to reach to prevent demotivation. As the child starts learning the basics, make things a bit harder by setting new goals that will keep them motivated and excited.
Introduce them to earning money
In order to understand what money is worth and be able to make appropriate decisions about spending it, children need to have the opportunity to make money themselves. Of course, at young age, this is not a mission that can easily be accomplished in real life. However, you can always combine this task with a bit of role play. Create a game where your child will be rewarded with money for something that they’ve done. For example, you can pay them a dollar for every chore that they complete around the house, for every new word that they learn, or for every math problem that they solve. The varieties are infinite.
This will help the understand that in order to be given money, they must first do something eelse in return. Practicing this early on will make your little ones feel more comfortable with the surrounding world as they grow older and the time comes for them to find a job.
Monitor spending together
Saving money also opens new opportunities to teach your kids the importance of monitoring results and keepin track of how they’re doing. This will be a valuable habit in adult years, when achieving a goal will require dedication, commitment, and precise monitoring. The best way to start is by buying an attractive notebook and colored pencils. Create a list with a few rows. Make things interesting by creating a friendly and fun competition. For instance, note down the names of your child, your own name, and the name of their other parent or a friend.
In the next row, write down an item or several items that the player wants to save for. It would be best to keep the items around the same price to make the competitive fair for everyone. Prepare a saving box or piggy bank for each player. Open the box at the end of each week to count how much money each player has saved and write the number down under their name.
In a separate row, make notes of how much each player has spent on other things that are not related to their end goal. This is a great exercise to show how people often spend money on things that are not part of their goals. These could sometimes be useless things that we don’t really need. If children understand this concept early on, this will help them prioritize their spending better as adults.
Perhaps one of the most important things when it comes to teaching kids to save money is to use the right incentives. We’re motivated to do things because we’re interested at what’s at the end of the road, even as adults. Luckily, for children, incentives are smaller things like their favorite game, a toy they’ve set their eyes on, or spending time with their friends. Observe their behaviour to see what motivates them and use these incentives for your journey on teaching them how to create the habit of saving money from an early age.
Don’t push your little ones too hard and if you notice that an incentive that worked before is no longer efficient, simply find something else that they’re currently interested in. Set your goals having these incentives in mind and watch as your kids start mastering the game of saving money.