Tried-and-true ways for teaching kids about money range from paying your children an allowance, to buying them a piggy bank, to opening a savings account with them. If you have used any or all of those methods or are currently using them, by all means continue doing so — they’re excellent strategies.
However, not all children are automatically drawn to the subject of money, so you might find that your child is not as interested as you had hoped. For such children, a parent often needs to be a bit more creative and to come up with fun ideas for helping them to understand money.
If that is the case for your child, consider these fun ideas for teaching kids about money:
Make a Do-It-Yourself “Piggy” Bank
Getting a piggy bank for your child is great, but it may be more fun for your child (and you) if you create a bank together. By working as a team, your child will get to be creative and you’ll be able to use the designing time to explain the purpose of a bank and how it’s used.
If you’re not sure how to make your own bank or want some suggestions to help get your creative juices flowing, check out Pinterest, which has some great ideas for homemade banks – and they’re not all pigs. By making your own bank, you’ll also be able to give your child an early lesson about easy ways to save money.
Let Your Child “Pick Up the Check”
Children often ask their parents to purchase items. Instead of giving a simple “yes” or “no,” use this opportunity to help your child begin to understand the value of money.
For example, when you and your child go to the store, take your child’s allowance with you, and allow your child to use the money to buy a candy bar or toy. First, however, ask your child to calculate how much money he or she has saved, how much the candy bar or toy costs, and how much money will be left over after buying the item. Finally, let your child count out the money to pay for the purchase and hand it to the cashier. By taking these steps, you can begin to help your child understand how currency works.
Create a Family Currency
Instead of always using real U.S. dollars to teach your child about money, try helping him or her to design play money specifically for your family.
Choose dollar increments for your family currency, such as $1, $2 and $10. Then, let your child color in the bills while you explain how much each bill is worth. Afterward, you could give “family money” to your child as a reward for good behavior or for doing his or her chores. After your child has collected enough “family money,” he or she could “pay” you a pre-determined amount for a cookie or an extra 10 minutes of play time.