Practical Parenting Ideas: Having Fun with Money

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Having Fun with Money

Guest Post by Author Alyssa Craig

Knowing how to handle and spend money wisely is essential for financial success and it’s never too early to start teaching children about money. This is especially true considering many individuals are beginning their credit card debt as early as high school. But when your kids are young the last thing they want to hear about is balancing checkbooks and finding low interest rates. Instead of financial lectures, find fun and educational ways to teach kids how to properly respect and manage the freedom that money allows.

Allow Them to Be Involved
As soon as they are old enough to count, allow them to be involved in exchanges of money. During these times, do your best to use paper money or coins rather than a seemingly consequence free plastic card. You can let them hand money or checks to tellers at the bank or put coins into vending machines or park meters.

Get Them a Piggy Bank with Four Slots
When your child starts earning or collecting money (say from grandparents or the Tooth Fairy) buy them a piggy bank with the following categories: Spend, Save, Invest, and Donate. Help them learn how to contribute to each slot and plan for the future.

Make Learning about Money Fun:
Take the time to teach your child fun facts about United States money to teach them that money is more than just a means to buy what they want. Here are some fun examples to get you started:

  • Our paper money is not actually paper. It is made from cloth.
  • Blue ribbon is woven through the new one hundred dollar bill that contains thousands of micro lenses that makes the Liberty Bell appear to dance.
  • “United States of America” is printed in microprinting on Benjamin Franklin’s collar. This is just one of many secrets exposed here.
  • While the original coins were 100% copper, pennies these days are actually 95% zinc with a slight copper coating.
  • Manufacturing a penny costs 2.4 cents, a nickel costs 11.18 cents, and a dime costs 5.65 cents.
  • Sea shells were once used as currency in many parts of the world.
  • The $1 bill has at least 13 tributes to the original 13 colonies, such as the number of steps on the pyramid and the number of stars above the eagle. See if your child can identify all 13!

Find Online Resources
There are many videos and games on the internet that can help kids to develop good money habits. Allow your child to have some educational computer time and help them to find some games that will teach them more about money management at a level they can understand.

Money Games
Beyond online games there are many board games that help children and adults learn about money and its consequences. Play games with your children that require them to handle money such as Life, Monopoly, and PayDay.

Let Them Handle Their Money
Allow them to earn some money by working around the house and then help them make wise decisions when they choose to spend it. When a child learns that earning a toy or movie ticket requires work, they will be less likely to take these things for granted and will become more selective in how they spend their hard earned cash.

Encourage your children to use their money for good as well. Assist them in donating to a church organization, a soup kitchen, or a good cause of their choice to help them to learn that having money is not everything.

Clip Coupons
Even if you do not usually use coupons, let your children help you find deals for items you usually buy and help them learn the value of a good deal and how to use money wisely. As they get older, you can also use this to teach them about budgeting and how to live within your means.

Savings Goal
Is there something your child really wants? Maybe it’s a new bike or a trip where they would want to buy souvenirs. Help them set up a plan for how they will earn the money. As a family, set some savings goals that result in a great reward. Help them plan how they will earn and save the money. They can do chores around the house, yard work for a neighbor, or perhaps set up their own lemonade stand.

Money management skills are important at any age, so be sure to teach them to your child as soon as possible. Not only will they have fun, but they will develop habits that will benefit them their entire lives.

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