Whether school is out and the kiddos are eating you out of house and home, staying up late, and bouncing off the walls or it’s back in session and you’re trying to get into a groove, anytime of the year is a great time to incorporate money lessons that can be used for the rest of their lives. Waiting until your child has crossed the stage of their high school graduation, is almost too late. Here are some tips on how to introduce financial responsibility to your little ones.
Explain that in order to spend, save, give back or invest any money, you have to make some first. Brainstorm different ways they can do so and make it fun! Use a dry erase board and help your child jot down some ways he or she could make money over the summer doing things they already like to do. Depending on their age, you will want to help them narrow down which options might work best and how much they should charge. Some popular ideas for kids ages five to thirteen, are washing cars in the neighborhood, setting up a lemonade stand, babysitting,and making crafts and selling them on Etsy. You can also come up with an allowance amount each week that they can earn for chores.
Before spending any money, or even working, have your kids think about what they would like to do with their potential earnings. Maybe they have their eyes set on a new bike, video game, or pair of shoes. Find out the actual cost and write it down. Help them determine how many hours they will have to work or number of items they will have to sell to get their hands on that prized possession. As they make purchases, encourage them to save every receipt. At the end of every month, they can look back on what was spent and what changes they can make going forward. This is also a great time to discuss the difference between wants and needs. They will soon realize they do not need a new video game, they want it.
Discuss the importance of giving back and how they can help someone in need. Donating some of their savings to a charity of their choice or buying some flowers to hand deliver to an elderly person at a nursing home are just a few ways they can choose to give back.
Save, save, save.
Normalize the habit of putting money to the side. Set up a jar they can drop money into whenever they get a chance and create a chart to record all of their progress as the weeks and months go by. Make sure the jar is clear so that they can see those coins and bills accumulate. To add more motivation, offer to match their savings. Once the jar is full, take them to a local bank or credit union to set up their own savings account where they can make deposits weekly or monthly. As their money grows, print out online bank statements to show them how far they have come and what adjustments need to be made.
Read all about it.
Make learning about money management fun by picking up one or more of these books.
- Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins & G. Brian Karas (ages 3-7)
- A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams (ages 4-8)
- Follow the Money by Loreen Leedy ( ages 5+)
- A Smart Girls’ Guide: Money by Nancy Holyoke (ages 10+)
Although it may be too soon for your little one to fully grasp the concept of compounding interest and mortgage rates, you can use this summer to plant those seeds of financial habits that can help them bloom into the next Warren Buffett or Oprah Winfrey. Learning the value of a dollar and everything they can do to make it grow, will encourage independence and set the stage for them to be successful as adults. Give them the tools you wished you had as a child.
Written by our contributor: Candice Davie