Several families have asked me about how they can teach their young children to understand the value of money. Kids are learning about money every day when they see you shopping or see ads on TV or electronics. Helping children develop an understanding of the value of money goes beyond knowing how much something costs. It is never too early to star teaching the value of money, how it is acquired, how it is used, as well as different concepts such as responsibility, delaying gratification, and charity.
- A good place to start is by talking aloud about the choices you make regarding where to shop and what to buy. Talk about how you choose which place to shop and the steps you go through to find the best value of items.
- Talk about the difference between things you need and things you want, and how to decide when it is the right time to buy something you want.
- Talk about how you earn your income- that it requires doing work and waiting to get paid.
- Tell your kids the budget you have for a small grocery store trip and have them help figure what can fit within that budget
- Play is always a great way for kids to experiment and figure things out- make some play money for your child to use, play store with a cash register, or for kids a little older play old school board games like Monopoly or Life.
- Even kids as young as preschool can start to have jobs around the house where they contribute and can earn things, whether it be monetary or privileges.
- Point out fun things that can be done without money, and create free adventures for your family.
Sesame Street has a great toolkit for parents that discusses teaching the value of money through spending, saving and sharing. It is called “For Me, For You, For Later: First Steps to Spending, Sharing and Saving” and has video clips and printable resources that can be found at: https://www.sesamestreet.org/toolkits/save.
The Sesame Street website has great tool kits for parents on a wide variety of topics that are worth checking out at https://www.sesamestreet.org/toolkits.