Every year National Teach Children to Save Day occurs in April. If you haven’t ever heard of this day, you won’t be alone, but it has a very admirable goal. In teaching your kids to save money, you can teach them great habits that will help their whole life. And while talking to your kids about money, you might even be inspired to take a look at your personal habits and clean up some of the aspects of your financial life.
One traditional way to help kids learn about saving money is to give them a piggy bank. This method can be altered based on age. Young kids who receive money as gifts can learn about saving with a general piggy bank.
Once children get old enough to do tasks and earn an allowance, the savings goal can be more specific. If you give your kids an allowance, use $1 bills or coins so they can separate their earnings into several jars for specific savings and keep some to spend if they want. This can be particularly helpful if they want a specific toy or game and they can see how regular saving leads to them being able to buy it later. You can also use this method to teach your kids about donating money to good causes as well.
There are a lot of ways you can use games to teach children about saving in a more abstract way. This blog post describes how to use the popular Pokemon GO game to teach money and business concepts in a very clever method. Any game your kid plays where he or she earns coins and has to decide how to spend them is an opportunity to talk about earning, saving, spending and budgeting.
Online money games for kids of all ages exist too, so a quick search will help you find what you’re looking for. Board games like life and monopoly are directly about money and should make the conversation/learning easy and fun for the whole family. For young kids, playing imaginary games where you are in a store or restaurant will work too. You can use monopoly money and items in your house to set up a fun play store that is as simple or fancy as you please.
Let children learn to budget by having them use money for a specific task. As children get older, you can give them a stipend for things they need like school supplies, clothes or holiday gifts and let them help you decide how to spend that money. This might mean children will make choices you don’t necessarily agree with, but the more buy-in you give and trust you show, the more kids will learn.
Money education should change and develop until your children are adults. By the time they graduate high school they should be familiar with a basic knowledge of loans, credit cards, personal banking and investing. Banks often offer resources for kids of all ages and it never hurts to ask.
A recent study found that only 19% of children felt that they were encouraged to talk about money with their parents. These steps help you make discussions of money or saving easy and comfortable for children. Since managing money is a part of everyone’s life, children should understand how important it is to learn how to save. As is often the case, you can start with an open conversation and model good saving practices in your own life.