If you and your partner have, or are planning to start, a family, it is important to discuss how you will talk about finances around your children. As kids grow up, you want them to have a positive and educated view on money so that they feel comfortable talking to you about it.
Kids as young as 3 years old can understand the ideas behind spending and saving. And by 7 years old, most financial habits are already set according to a study by the University of Cambridge. As children grow up, it is prime time to teach them good habits around spending and saving money.
It’s important to start thinking how you want to talk about money and handle certain financial situations with your children. Here are a few ways to teach your children about the importance of finances during this crucial time.
Start Early and Make It Fun
Starting the money conversation with your kids about finances early sets the tone for future money habits. It is important to start the teaching process as soon as possible. Start by simply giving them a piggy bank. This introduces the idea of saving money and the rewards that come with accumulating it overtime. It will teach your children the most basic responsibilities around money (i.e. don’t lose it, keep it somewhere safe, and be patient).
Create a fun game out of putting extra dimes and nickels into the piggy bank. You can count it after two weeks and take them to pick out something with what’s inside.
Teach Them to Save Up For Something
As your kids grow up, teach them the basics of saving money. For example, if there is a specific toy that your child has been wanting, instead of buying it for them, assign them a weekly chore that you will pay them to do. This will teach them to budget their money towards something they want to buy. It will allow them to see how long it takes to save up for certain things.
This will not only give your kids a sense of accomplishment, but it will also give them the freedom to choose where they want to spend the money they earn. By paying them small amounts for some help around the house, you are teaching them the value of hard work.
Keep An Ongoing Conversation
It is so important to be open and talk about money with children. You might be thinking, “I don’t even like talking to my partner about money, and now I have to talk about it with my kids too?” While it is difficult to discuss our money mistakes no matter who we are talking to, these stories are going to help teach children valuable lessons.
If you forget to make a car payment, be open about it. Explain to your child that you made a mistake and now you have to pay an extra fee to make up for it. Or maybe you got a raise at your job. You should celebrate this to show the value of your hard work. Keep an ongoing conversation about money so it’s never an awkward topic in your household.
Involve Them in Shopping and Budgeting
Take your kids to the grocery store with you. Allow them to pick between the expensive and budget-friendly items on your list. By involving them in this process you are allowing them a chance to see budgeting and spending in action. Give them control of the shopping trip and master the art of saving.
Another simple way to give kids the reins on their spending habits is to give them a budget for a reward. Let’s say your child got a good grade and you promised a new toy as a reward for this. Instead of giving them something, take them to the store and tell them to find a toy for $15 or less.
Allow Them to Make Mistakes
It’s always important for children to learn from their mistakes, especially when it comes to money. If they are going to use their piggy bank fund to buy an irresponsible purchase, sometimes you have to let them make that mistake.
In order for kids to learn how important responsible spending is, they are going to have to make a few dumb purchases. Not allowing them to do anything you wouldn’t do is only holding them back from learning valuable life lessons.
If you have young children or are planning to start a family, it’s important to think about what you want their narrative to be about money. As your kids grow up, you want them to think of money in a positive light and feel comfortable talking about it. For more tips on budgeting in your family, click here.