Sadly, we’re rarely taught in schools about money. Sure, we learn about Pythagoras Theorem but when was the last time that was useful in real life? Never, right?! Your children face the same dilemma with confusing messages about what money is and how it relates to time. It’s up to you as a parent to fill in the blanks for them, so they get a more well-rounded education. Here are some ideas on how to teach your children the connection between time and money.
Preschoolers and Kindergartners
You might think the little ones don’t notice how you spend money and what you do with it, but they do. In fact, many habits around money are created when only a few years old. As we know, kids model their parents’ behavior, so parents must set a good example.
Use a Mason Jar for Savings
While a piggy bank is more traditional, a mason jar is better because a preschooler or kindergartner can see the money inside. A small amount of savings can go a long way by slowly filling up the jar and having them see how much is in there.
Work = Money
Even a young son or daughter can begin to understand the importance of money. That mommy or daddy go out to work to earn money is something they can begin to understand. Their teacher at school makes money when teaching them too.
Things Cost Money
Showing how different items in the store cost different amounts is helpful. Even connecting which candies are tastier but cost more is a useful concept to share.
Middle school students begin to see and touch money more often. However, that doesn’t mean that they understand how time equals money. That’s especially true when parents just hand them an allowance without having to do anything to earn it.
Pay vs Free Allowance
Kids shouldn’t be given a free allowance. This sets the stage for money being something they can just expect for free.
There’s plenty of age-appropriate chores around the house that middle schoolers are perfectly capable of doing, no matter how much they might moan about it. This might include tidying up their room and putting their toys away when they’re younger. Mowing the lawn when older and being supervised for safety reasons is another one. Dealing with the trash also makes clear that not every chore is necessarily pleasant, but rewards come from putting in the time.
Get Them Involved with Finding Bargains
Turn family food shopping into a game. Start with a budget for the week and let them plan out what should be purchased. Depending on their maturity and knowledge about what ingredients are needed for different meals, it might be necessary to create several meal plans with a list of ingredients, so they have a place to start.
They can then be allowed to choose between different meal ideas depending on the deals in the store that day. Offer them a financial incentive when they save money, as long as the meals are nutritious and sufficient for everyone in the household. Then have them save half of the money for a medium-term goal like buying a smartphone or a tablet.
With teenagers, aim for the bigger things to make an impact and let them feel more in control.
Teenagers love to get things for free but often don’t appreciate the time it takes to secure them. It’s true that many free samples require a time investment. And that’s perfectly okay. Most bargain hunting or coupon cutting takes time out of the day too.
Advise Against Student Loans
Teach teenagers to work part-time to make money to save for college. They’ll have an early financial goal to work towards and value the education far more. If they can get a scholarship, great, but don’t let them rely on that. Tell them that taking out student loans isn’t the answer because of all the hours of future work to repay the loans.
As long as children make a clear connection between time spent and money earned, they’ll be in a better position when they become adults. This connection avoids them spending frivolously without realizing the consequences down the line.
This is a collaborative guest post. The thoughts and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Mommy Ramblings.