Summer break: 7 ways to teach your kids about money
- Set them up with a bank account
- Use a clear piggy bank
- Let them earn their pocket money
- Introduce savings and long-term planning
- Bring them along to the grocery store
- Teach them about giving
- Lead by example
7 ways to teach your kids about money
Seven ways to introduce your kids to the value of money, as simple as they may seem, you can teach them. Summer is a great time to introduce your minis to good habits.
Summer break is the best part of the year for most kids and they are definitely what memories are made of. Once school's out, it's time for poolside afternoons, camp days, fishing expeditions and of course the yearly family trip. As a kid, I used to love these camping trips that my mom would spend hours planning beforehand. But what if this fun-filled season was just another window to learn new things and I never realized it?
We're not talking about going to a museum (although it's fun) or taking on summer class, but rather about using this opportunity to teach something valuable to your kids: money.
In this blog, we'll share with you the 7 best ways to teach your kids about money during the summer break.
1. Set them up with a bank account
You can easily (and legally of course) open a bank account for your kid and order them their very own debit card. While it may seem useless at first, it's a fun way to introduce them to budgeting and money management.
Every year when we went on a road trip, my mom would deposit a fixed amount in my bank account, which would be my own little budget for our vacations. Instead of asking her for money all the time for useless stuff, she would simply explain to me how much I had left and how much what I wanted was. Then, I had to make that decision myself and I was the one paying with my own card at the end. This taught 8 years old me many things about managing my money, including:
- How to use a debit card
- How to withdraw from an ATM
- How to manage a budget over a short period
- How to prioritize spending on what I really liked
2. Use a clear piggy bank
If you're using the classic piggy bank, make sure to use a clear see-through one so that you can see what's inside. Seeing the coins piling up on each other is a good way to illustrate savings, and the opposite is just as good to demonstrate what happens when you spend it. It's an easy visualization for kids. Since the tooth fairy won't always be there to magically leave a dollar under their pillows, it's important to let them see the dynamics of saving and spending with their own eyes.
3. Let them earn their pocket money
I know, it's very tempting to give them weekly allowances so they won't bother you for 5$ here and there... However, keep in mind that making them earn it is as valuable a learning experience as it gets. On top of teaching your children lessons about why their parents actually have money, it comes with awesome side effects: work ethic and time management!
Why not ask for basic tasks to be done in order to earn the weekly allowances? Taking out the trash, helping around in the kitchen, cleaning their rooms... If your kid wants to play video games all morning and play soccer with friends in the afternoon, it's their choice. Making time to do the chores comes with a price, like less video game time. It also has to come with a reward which in this case is the weekly pocket money.
4. Introduce savings and long-term planning
While planning your vacations, get your kids in the conversations and ask them what they want to do. Why not make the theme park they so dearly want to go to a "financial" goal? Introduce them to the habit of saving money for future plans, and of course to the joy of treating yourself when the time comes. It might be only a month or a couple of weeks away — the goal here is to give their young minds the first experience at planning ahead. It's about spending a little less right now so they can have what they really want later. This is important learning to carry on later in their teen years and even their adult life.
5. Bring them along to the grocery store
This one doubles down at being both a fun and learning experience. When doing the weekly groceries, bring your kids along and let them know what's going on. What you're putting in the cart, the choices you're making, why you're making them etc. It's a nice and pleasant routine to have and it opens up a ton of learning possibilities.
It gives a concrete example of budget management with real-time decisions between different choices to make sure the end result fits in. It also makes for a great opportunity to show the differences between the "needs" and "wants" categories of spending. Moreover, you could even teach your kids a thing or two about a healthy diet while planning for the meals with them.
6. Teach them about giving
Giving back is always a nice gesture, and an important one to teach to our kids. Whether it's a charity donation, taking part in a fundraiser or even giving money to support a street musician, make sure your kids know what's going on. Depending on the context, you could even give them the money and let them do the donation.
They will get the smile and the "thank you" that comes with it, and in the process learn how rewarding giving back can make them feel. Keep this in mind the next time you make a donation and let them be a part of the process!
7. Lead by example
Along with the many things you'll be teaching your kids, money management all starts with you. No matter what you're teaching them about money, make sure that you walk the talk. Avoid impulsive buying, show them contentment and make sure you have a healthy relationship with money. This won't only give your little ones the right tools for their future, but it will also help your own financial health.
Speaking of taking good habits regarding your money and financial security, our dedicated experts can definitely help you with that over on our Emma live chat.
Summer vacations are meant to be fun, but that doesn't mean you can't hit two birds with this stone and throw in a couple of lessons here and there. For your kids, learning about money at a young age will be a valuable asset to carry on for the years to come, just as it was for me!