Monday, February 18, 2013

Teaching Children the Importance of Money

While I've spent much of my girls' childhood trying to impart the importance of concepts such as self-confidence, philanthropy and taking care of the earth, one area that I'm pretty sure I'm falling short is in teaching the value of money.

We live in a time filled with mass media, instant answers, immediate delivery and credit cards (not to mention the way that products magically show up at our door each day), so teaching my kids responsibility when it comes to money has thus far been a challenge that I've avoided.

Where do I even start to get them to understand not only what money is and how it works, but why it is so incredibly important?


Fortunately, I have a plan.
  1. Start the conversation. This may sound obvious, but taking the first step is as simple as talking about the costs associated with things that are a part of our lives. Groceries, gas, clothing, shoes — it is easy to introduce your child to the idea that in order for us to own things, they must be purchased with money.

  2. Teach the basics of money. While Little Sister B is still on the young end of the really "getting it" when it comes to money, Big Sister E already grasps how to count coins and bills. Now we just have to keep working on the understanding what makes one coin or bill more valuable than another.

  3. Allow kids to earn and manage their money. My husband and I have gone back and forth on the idea of giving our children an allowance (I want to be sure that they are being rewarded for completing chores that fall outside the realm of their regular tasks), so now might be a good time to kick it off.

    At the same time, giving my kids an allowance is going to require me to relinquish some control and truly let them make choices as to what comes next. As much as I can repeat that you have to work for money and that it can be spent very quickly, I don't think that my girls will understand and appreciate the value of a dollar until they are making their own decisions as to how to spend it.

  4. Demonstrate making good choices. We all know that children learn the most important lessons in life from imitating their parents, so recognizing the behaviors that my husband and I demonstrate with our money is something not to be dismissed.

    Considering that, while kissing one of Little Sister B's cheeks recently, she said, "You can kiss this side, too. It's on sale!" to me, I think that we are already on our way of showing our love of a coupon or bargain, wouldn't you?

While I think that we still have a ways to go in teaching our kids to truly understand and value money, I'm looking forward to following these steps as well as advice from friends, family and other trusted, knowledgeable sources such as our bank and Genworth Financial.

Because no matter how intelligent or beautiful I may believe my daughter are, helping them grow into responsible teenagers and adults is something that will have a lasting impact on their lives. It has been shown that women gain financial literacy as they get older, however, I fully believe that these two can be on the right track to being monetary geniuses much sooner.

teaching kids about money

How do you teach your children about the importance of money?

Information for this post is sourced from Genworth Financial in partnership with the SheHeard Influencer Network but, as always, all thoughts an opinions are honest and my own.


Liz Mays said...

I was just talking about this with my daughter last week. She was telling me that she thinks very carefully about how she spends her money and she blamed me for it. My response: I did you a favor.

I think my kids really learned when they saw me struggle and fight to get out of debt which was a long, hard, but ultimately worthwhile struggle.

ColleenMarie82 said...

My husband and I take this very seriously. We have had struggles with money in the past and do not want our kids to go through the same thing.

slehan said...

Makes me glad I don't have kids. My folks raised my sister and me with a good knowledge of how money worked.

Anonymous said...

a very important lesson to teach early on

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I think the sooner the concept is understood, the better. I think it's true that imitation or watching parents can make kids aware of certain ideas or ways to go about doing something; for example, I grew up watching and listening to my parents save every penny and be very open and conscious of what they could buy or not buy, respectively. This left a lasting impression on me, so much so that I feel I'd never throw money away at the drop of a hat because I'm too conscious about it. But I also think it's great to give kids a real-life opportunity to learn for themselves. Like the allowance idea. Or maybe when they are older, small jobs that teach the value of their time and work in comparison to the amount of money they receive.