It’s never too soon to teach your child about money. Okay, maybe anything younger than 3 years old is a bit too young. But, in this day and age where money really does rule everything, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to introduce your child to the basic concepts that make up our economic system. Here, I’ll give you some ideas on how you can introduce the concept of money to your little one.
Money: Depositing, Withdrawing, and Saving
One of my most favorite things to play with as a child was play money.
I would even set up an ATM that my siblings had to come to. I got a cardboard box and cut slots for the debit card, money output, and number pad. For the number pad, I stuck a calculator through the slot so the screen was visible to the teller inside the box and the number pad was on the outside for customers to type the amount of money they wanted. Very creative. Nowadays you can buy all sorts of play ATMs.
Teaching children about depositing and withdrawing money is a great precursor to talking about the importance of saving money and delegating it for important things. You can even have your child save money in his very own piggy bank. The ATM pictured above is actually a high-tech piggy bank.
The next time your child gets money for a birthday or holiday ask him: would you like to save that money to buy something bigger in the future or spend it now on something small? You can also use this concept at the store. If Sally is begging for a candy bar in the checkout line you can take a dollar out of your wallet and say, “Sally, you can spend this dollar now on a candy bar or we can put it in your piggy bank and save it for that sparkly bike you always wanted.”
Something else I loved was writing out checks to use at my cardboard ATM. Writing out checks is one of those skills they never teach you in school. Get a play set or some of your old ones and teach your child how to write one out. You can even incorporate a lesson about how to spell the numbers. Did you know that numbers like twenty-one have a hyphen in them? Look up the proper way to spell out numbers and how to write out a check and share it with your child!
You can also teach your child how to sign his/her own name in cursive, a writing style that is quickly fading out of most school curriculums.
If your child is old enough, teach about routing numbers, identity theft and the importance of keeping your signature and banking information private, as well as how to endorse a check.
Set up a pretend shop and have your child purchase items. You can use toys from around the house or get little trinkets from the dollar store that your child can actually purchase with money from his or her piggy bank. Once the money run out, that’s it. This exercise will show your child that money isn’t infinite. You can remind them of the exercise when you’re at the grocery store and Sally is begging for that candy bar again. Remind her that just as her piggy bank money could only buy so much, Mommy or Daddy’s money can only buy so much. Make the game even more fun by making or purchasing a toy cash register!
Keep an eye out for my article on how you can teach your child about taxes.