Yes You Can! Raise Financially Aware Kids
Guest post by: Stowers Innovations, Inc.
This year, 2-to-14-year-olds will “kid-fluence” an estimated $488 billion in parental spending – money that many American families can’t afford.
Consider these questions:
- Do your kids think money grows on trees?
- Do you want your children’s quality of life to be as good or better than yours?
- Do you want your children to make sound financial decisions?
- Do you need help in guiding your children in the process of becoming financially aware?
Many parents agree that talking about money is easier than talking about sex with their kids. Yet, many parents don’t take the time to explain money management to their children. Either we don’t want to worry our kids, are too busy, or don’t know how to explain it. The trick is to make financial education energizing and interesting for your kids. Your conversations will benefit your children now and in the future. Here are some great activities for you to try with your child:
MAKING CENTS (for kids ages 3-11)
Play makes learning fun! Use this game to help your children understand how many pennies equal each coin denomination:
What you’ll need:
- 25 pennies
- 10 nickels
- 10 dimes
- 1 quarter
Players take turns rolling the dice. The “bank” pays players a penny for each number rolled. When the player gets 5 pennies or more, he trades them to the “bank” for a nickel, and so on. The first player to get a quarter wins!
FAMILY TOKENS (for kids ages 3-11)
Try creating a system that rewards your children for exhibiting good values. The use of “Family Tokens” encourages saving and deferred gratification.
Create a family token (you could use craft sticks, game chips or bottle caps). When you see your children sharing a toy, helping out without being asked, using kind and helpful words or helping a sibling with homework, give them a token. The children then collect and save the tokens, to be redeemed for a reward.
You can make up a menu of treats to choose from. Rewards can vary depending on the ages and abilities of your children. For example, an eight-year-old’s reward choices might include:
- Roller skating with a friend (10 tokens)
- A slumber party with up to 3 friends (15 tokens)
- Rent a new video game (3 tokens)
- Stay up two hours past bedtime (3 tokens)
- Ice cream (5 tokens)
PUNCH IT OUT (for kids ages 6-18)
Parents frequently run into the “I want/need” issue with children. Rather than saying “NO!” all the time, give your children some control over their desires by making a card with an allotment of choices for a certain time period.
You can mark out the choices as your children use them. This is a fun way for kids to exercise control of their own choices, yet still be within parental guidelines.
What you’ll need:
- A blank 3 x 5 card
- A paper punch or marker
Let your children know how many items and how much you will spend per item during the time period. Put their list on the card. As each item is purchased, punch out and cross it off the card.
Your children can pay any amount above your maximum from their allowance or from money earned by doing extra chores around the house.
The following is an example of a card for a 17-year-old.
CLOTHING CARD – good through May 31
Jeans: $40 $40 $40 $40
Shirts: $25 $25 $25 $25
Shoes: $45 $60
WHEN I GROW UP (for kids ages 3-18)
Kids of all ages like to imagine what they will be when they “grow up.” Spend some time helping your kids dream – and dream along with them yourself.
Initiate a discussion with your children about what they would like to be when they grow up. Ask:
- What they think the job requirements are for their chosen profession (for example, doctor, chef or electrician)?
- What kind of education will they need (medical school, cooking school, electrical training)?
- Where can they get the right education for their profession (college, vocational/technical school, apprenticeships)?
- How much will it cost to get that education? Where will they get the money to pay for it?
- What kind of classes can they take in school now to prepare for their career?
- How much money will they make?
For younger kids, the idea is simply to make them start thinking about their future. For older kids, you can help guide them to the library or the Internet to research their dream professions and find sources for the education necessary to become what they want. Help them by choosing the best high school courses that will lead them to their dreams.
As a parent, you know you are the ideal teacher for your children. You know what sparks their interests and how best to communicate with them. You can turn some of the time you’re already spending with your children into a fun learning experience that provides valuable hands-on training for a financially responsible future.