Raising financial-wise children
It is never too early to teach a child the value of money. It is an education that can begin with a simple introduction and graduate to more advanced concepts. This financial literacy for kids is crucial towards building a responsible adult. Kids ‘R’ Kids Valrico shares some interesting activities that can help build financial wisdom in children in a fun, engaging, and age-appropriate manner.
What is financial literacy?
Financial literacy is a set of skills that allows people to make smart decisions about their money. It allows people to have an understanding of making, saving, spending (including donating), and investing money. Financial literacy for kids can begin by creating a basic foundation of money management. This may include how to earn money and make minor decisions around it.
Financial literacy activities for kids
Learning is most effective with experience. Educational activities allow kids to learn about numbers and finances as well as develop a responsible attitude towards money. Here are some activities to begin with.
1. Learning numerical value: The first step is to teach young kids the numerical value of coins. For instance, teaching them that a nickel equals 5 and a quarter is 25. Holding and observing the coins of different sizes, shapes, weights, and colors allows them to learn. Once the basics are clear, kids can be taught how to combine currencies to reach a certain amount. This numerical literacy is the base for financial education.
2. Money transactions: The concept that money is transactional can be taught with real-life experience. When visiting a store to purchase a toy or other items, allow the child to pay cash or the credit card to the cashier. This experience will clarify the concept of money.
3. Make-believe play: Pretend play has a high success rate when teaching concepts to children. Set up a pretend farmer’s market or pizza shop where selling and buying of items can be practiced. This activity also allows children to experience different roles and jobs.
4. Needs vs wants: The line between need and wants is often a blurry one. Helping a child create a list of things they need and want can highlight what is important and what isn’t. Cutting pictures from magazines and creating a list is a fun way to do this activity. Using practical examples, parents and teachers can talk about needs such as food, water, shelter, and clothing vis a vis wants such as toys and candies.
5. Age-appropriate books: Reading is a wonderful virtue that allows children to learn concepts with illustrations and creativity. Here are some finance-related books that can help:
- Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton (Preschool – Gr. 2)
- Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells (Ages 3-5)
- The Money We’ll Save by Brock Cole (Ages 4-8)
- Arthur’s Funny Money by Lillian Hoban (Gr. 1-3)
- How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? by Iza Trapani (Ages 2-5)
- Aida’s Violin by Susan Hood (Gr. 2-5)
6. Chores to earn money: As children comprehend the basics of money and its transactional nature, household chores are another way of teaching them the value and nature of money. This may or may not be every parent’s choice though. Children may choose to do small tasks in exchange for a payment. These jobs may include walking the neighbor’s pet or watering plants - whatever is age-appropriate.
7. Money instead of gifts: Managing one’s own money is a crucial step to financial literacy. Encourage family and friends to give children money instead of toys for birthdays and milestones. Children can save this money in a piggy bank or a savings account.
8. Budgeting: Once children have learned to save, they can learn to budget the money to achieve certain goals. For instance, opening a lemonade stand. This is a very educational and fun way to teach kids about creating a budget - buy supplies, understand supply and demand cycle, follow work ethics, and set goals. The end goal for the lemonade stand could be to save more money for a bigger task, donate to charity, or buy a long-awaited toy.
9. Discuss financial decisions: The way a parent saves and spends money influences a child’s values and choices, going forward. Discussing with children the financial decisions parents make is a crucial step to helping them understand the array of spending and saving choices that exist. A young child may be able to understand why a parent let go of a fancy car to plan a vacation for the family instead. Or why a parent chose to invest money in mending the old car instead of buying a new one. Let children be witnesses to these decisions and discussions.
These activities and experiences may seem uncomfortable at first and even too complex. However, children learn from experience, repetition, and imitation. As they are regularly exposed to financial concepts and decisions, they will slowly and steadily acquire financial wisdom.
Why Kids ‘R’ kids?
The philosophy of “Hug First, Then Teach”, defines every aspect of what Kids ‘R’ Kids, Valrico stands for. Unlike many daycare centers or childcare providers, its methodology is a whole-child approach. It constantly strives to strengthen and encourage every child’s emotional, intellectual, social, and physical well-being through the expertise of its childcare providers and a unique partnership with parents.
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