6 easy ways to teach children about money
by Daniel Britton
Teaching children from an early age how to save and budget in
a fun and educational way, can lay the foundations for sound money management later in life. Most would agree, that the earlier
children are introduced to a foreign language, the quicker they are able to pick it up. The same can be true when it comes
to teaching children about money and developing their financial fluency.
A recent study indicates that with as little
as 10 hours of financial education, teachers and parents can positively influence children’s future saving and spending
A good starting point for teaching children about money is by showing how money is used in exchange for goods
and services, demonstrating that in making their own purchases they are in fact trading with the shop owner and receiving
a product in exchange. For example, next time you are shopping, let your child hand over the money to the cashier and after
you have left the shop, you can talk about how the money paid for the item.
6 easy ways to teach children about money
Fun, fun, Fun - make a game of both saving and spending. If spending money alone is fun then they will rarely associate any
pleasure with saving.
2) Routines - If your child receives money as a present, establish a routine, for example by
putting some or all of it in their piggy bank or savings account. The tradition may be upheld for many years and go forward
into their own families.
3) Consistency - If you give pocket money, or allowance, in return for helping around the
house, make sure they actually do the work! Even very young children can be responsible for tidying away their own toys or
clothes. It’s a good idea to give a set amount on a regular day but also giving them the opportunity to earn more if
they seek it so as to encourage their entrepreneurial spirit.
4) Look after the pennies - Turning off the lights, saving
the pennies and giving small donations to charity collections are small things that create positive habits which may last
a lifetime. Ensure that you explain why you are doing it and what the benefits are. Charitable giving can illustrate to your
child that there are others less fortunate and introduce the idea to be grateful for the things they have.
- When your children ask for something, rather than say no. Ask them if they would like to buy it from their own money and
explain what the consequences are. You may find that they are slightly more reluctant to spend their own money than they are
6) Praise, praise, praise - by praising we reinforce positive behaviour and will encourage children to do the
right thing out of choice ‘because it feels good’. This can be applied to saving, spending wisely and giving to
It is important to always approach teaching children about money with openness and honesty, giving a constant
and clear message. Explain to them why they can or cannot have certain items they wish to buy. You can’t always say
yes to a request for money and it does few favours being over indulgent; but equally the ‘because I said so’ line
has little educational merit.
Consider also the type of signals you are sending about money that your child picks up on.
You may consider it important to let your child know that family money matters are private, and not for discussion outside
the home. If however, as parents you talk in hushed tones over bills and bank statements, your child may figure out that finances
are something to be secretive and furtive about. Similarly, if they pick up some of their parents' stress and anxiety over
money, this too is an unwanted value that can be carried forward into adult life.
Daniel Britton is a UK based author and educator with a particular interest
in helping young people learn about money and business.
His latest book The Financial Fairy Tales are a series of beautifully illustrated stories to captivate and entertain younger children.
Prepare Teens to Leave the Nest
by Jody Johnston Pawel
This month our family is experiencing two major transitions.
Our youngest child is entering high school and our oldest is starting college out of town, in an apartment with three strangers.
Each has brought unique challenges to my children — and us, their parents. Our experiences have reinforced the importance
of the lessons we taught our college-bound child and those we need to focus on with our high-schooler.
The High School
Entering high school is simultaneously scary and exciting for teens, because of all the unknowns. I wish every
high school did what Springboro High School did this year: offer a freshman orientation day. Knowing the school layout, schedules
and “inside scoops” from upper-classmen eliminated the scary part of this new adventure. Now they can focus on
learning and experiencing responsibility, such as following through with work assignments (at home and at jobs), choosing
friends, managing extra-curricular activities and developing new relationships.
At home, teach teens independent-living
skills such as how to do laundry, cook, clean and budget money. Don’t do for teens what they are capable of doing themselves.
If you think your teens aren’t capable, it’s your job to teach them the skills they need. Also, don’t rescue
them from problems or mistakes. Hold them accountable and teach them how to resolve problems and learn from mistakes.
your communication with your teens to take on a new flavor — if you don’t, the teen years can leave a bitter taste.
Teens are often more vocal and opinionated than younger children. They share their ideas and (maybe) ask what you think. Parents
need to develop a mutually supportive relationship with their teens and seek win/win solutions.
This kind of communication
takes time and effort. Parents must be available when teens are ready to talk and know when to talk and to listen. Heed the
saying, “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as you talk.”
During the teen years, parents must establish a new level of trust with their teens and grant more freedom.
Too much restrictiveness breeds rebellion; too much freedom gets teens in trouble. In college, students from overly-strict
families often “go wild” with their new-found freedom. A healthy balance is to allow teens to have freedom and
responsibilities, so they learn to balance each.
Reaching this balance takes conscious effort. Parents must refrain
from telling teens what to do. Bottom-line boundaries are set by society and each family’s rules, expectations and values.
Within those, let teens decide what is best for them. Ask helpful questions instead of giving advice.
– the Transition
For many families, a child leaving the nest comes easily, but for some it is stressful and full
of conflict. As much as you hope you have prepared your teen, the reality is that some lessons are only gained by leaving
Within the first week of college, my son had to resolve problems with the bank, college housing and post office.
It was important for him to resolve these himself. We discussed his options and how to handle it, but ultimately, he made
Although balancing college responsibilities and social activities can be difficult — this is usually
not the most challenging part of college.
Many teens have privacy at home; they have their own room
and space. In college, most share a room with at least one other person, usually a stranger. Of all the college transitions,
this is perhaps the most difficult.
Colleges try to match roommates using vague general qualities. But individual
differences, like being a morning or night person, studying needs, cleanliness, privacy and partying pose the most difficult
At the least, roommates need to be respectful or each other’s needs and space. Resolving differences
requires good communication, problem-solving and negotiation skills. Knowing how to hold a family meeting is essential, because
resolving conflicts often requires consensus decisions. So where do they learn these skills? At home. Which brings us full-circle
From Cradle to College — and Beyond
The process of separating, being independent and “leaving
home” actually starts the day our children are born. So parents need to have different roles, at each phase.
toddlers take baby steps and fall occasionally. Be there to guide them. Let preschoolers explore and ask “Why?”
Teach young children social skills. Teach school-age children self-care, self-responsibility and self-discipline. Then use
the high school years to prepare your teen for independent living, decision-making and conflict resolution.
the years, develop and maintain mutual respect, open communication and trust. For these will be the foundation of your relationship
– from cradle to college, and beyond.
Jody Johnston Pawel is a Licensed Social Worker, Certified Family Life Educator,
second-generation parent educator, founder of The Family Network, and President of Parents Toolshop Consulting. She is the
author of 100+ parent education resources, including her award-winning book, The Parent's Toolshop. For 25+ years, Jody has
trained parents and family professionals through her dynamic workshops and interviews with the media worldwide, including
Parents and Working Mother magazines, and the Ident-a-Kid television series. Jody currently serves as the online parenting
expert for Cox Ohio Publishing’s mom-to-mom websites and also serves on the Advisory Board of the National Effective