Take A Guess
If you had to guess how long you had to instill in your children good money habits, what would you guess?
12? 15? Until they are no longer under your roof?
What if I told you the number was seven? That is right. Seven. A study from Cambridge University showed that children form the money habits they will take with them to adulthood by age seven.
Now sit back and think about the past few days. What habits have you taught them? If you are thinking you haven’t had the opportunity to teach them anything think again. You have probably been to the grocery store in the past few days. And we parents all know, the grocery store is a battleground. Be it chocolate or a silly toy from the seasonal section, there was likely some conversation about what you would or would not buy, or some compromise you made to just get through that experience.
Maybe it wasn’t the store. Maybe you bought something for one child and your other child saw it and wanted it. What did you say? Did you tell them you would buy them something to appease them? Did you already buy them something knowing this would be an issue? (I know this one well because in our household we are totally guilty of this.)
Where do we go from here? How do we start? How do we undo what has been done and get our children on the path to financial success?
There are so many opportunities to teach our children about money. Every birthday, every trip to the toy store, the aforementioned trip to the grocery store, heck every trip outside of your house where you intend to pull your wallet out and buy something. Each of these moments is an opportunity to show our children the behaviors we want them to take with them to adulthood. That is a lot of pressure!
Let’s start small. Let’s start easy. But above all let’s start. Below are 6 activities you can do right now, which can be fun and easy to get the conversation started.
- Dig those coins out of the couch cushions (or wherever you keep them) and discover copper pennies and silver quarters. You can keep it simple and discuss the different sizes of the coins or go a step further and tell them a penny is one, a nickel is five and so on.
- For a little more fun, pull out those coins you have from your last trip to another country. You know, the ones you kept because you thought they were cool? Well, your kids will think they are cool too! Talk to them about the difference between our coins and coins from Mexico, Canada, Europe. You get the idea.
- Pull out that piggy bank and count how many coins and bills they have.
- Don’t have a piggy bank? Perfect! Get out that empty peanut butter jar you have been saving and have them decorate it. Don’t have a peanut butter jar? Take that empty tissue box (with a premade slot) and have them decorate that.
- Ready for more? Use the three jars (or boxes) technique. Have the little ones decorate a jar for saving, a jar for spending and a jar for sharing. Talk to them about the different concepts and ask them what they would like to do with the money in each of the jars.
- Let’s pretend! Get out that monopoly money and set up shop! Grab some different things from around the house and put a price tag on each. For the young ones you can put the prices as ‘three pink’ bills or ‘two orange’ bills and for the older ones, you can have more traditional pricing like $15.
The bonus to all of this is, aside from teaching them about money you are also teaching them counting, math, geography and art. More importantly, you are spending amazing quality time with them, which we all know can be in short supply these days.
So before another moment slips by, let’s do this! Find those kids of yours and get going! Need a little inspiration? Click here to download some fun money activities for kids including printable coloring books!