By Sharon Jones
Every parent would like their children to grow into financially savvy adults. It’s easier said than done, though, and valuable learning experiences can quickly turn into a chore if you don’t handle it right. One of the best ways of helping your child is to give them the tools for learning - and make it an enjoyable experience.
Image by: Pexels
Here is the best advice from parents who cracked the code on making it fun and successfully planted the seeds for understanding the value of money.
The money talk
Talking about money with your children is important - it goes without saying. There is still a surprising amount of parents who underestimate their child’s ability to understand money matters, and who’ll avoid including them in money conversations. The truth is, you can do a lot to make it more understandable for young children and can actually start the teaching as soon as possible.
Make sure you keep it visual rather than abstract; let them get used to coins and include money when teaching them about money. How many coins does she need to buy an ice cream? Count them together and let her feel the weight in her hands - just watch out, so they don’t disappear into her mouth.
The most important thing you can do to teach your children the value of money is to set a good example. Their learning experience starts with you, so read up on your personal finances and understand how you can be the best teacher for your child. You can find a lot of excellent resources online; visit Fortunate Investor for a number of useful articles or Wise Bread for some genius money saving apps for kids.
Competitive saving games
Sometimes, the games that we keep in our heads brings more motivation than any; especially when they get the chance to beat their siblings in something. When you give your children an allowance every week or month, you’re teaching them the skill of budgeting; tell them that you’ll match the amount when they reach a certain target, and allow the winner to choose your next holiday destination, or select the dinner menu for a whole week.
You might have to prepare yourself for a trip to Disneyland or seven days of eating pancakes, but your children will learn a lot from it. The one who didn’t win this round is likely to nag for another competition where they can prove themselves - and the seeds of saving have already been sowed.
Money board games
Get ahold of some board games; the old fashioned ones will do just fine, and include the whole family. You can choose between a lot of different types, and all of them will teach your children to budget. Pay Day is an old classic that encourages an entrepreneurial mindset; the players will need to handle various bills and expenses, just like in real life, and the old version gives them the options of insurance and savings as well.
Step it up a notch with Cash Flow for kids; created by finance guru Robert Kiyosaki, the game can teach your children the difference between liabilities and assets, as well as the importance of investing and accounting. It sounds comprehensive enough already, but it doesn’t stop there - you’ll be able to give money to charities and understand core principles such as capital gain.
It teaches children financial terminology in a fun and understandable way while making them work towards the target of managing their money - just like we do in real life. There is a grown-up variety of the game, too, so swap out the kiddie-version when they grow into teenagers.
Monopoly is also worthy of mention as it teaches them to count money and make wise decisions. The younger ones will be able to learn a lot from their older siblings, too - watching their big brother constantly win by making the right purchases and saving his assets encourages the others to do the same.
It is probably better for tweens and teens, as the game might become too long and complicated for the little ones. It’s all about watching and observing; the new type even comes with a card machine, so it simulates the reality of not always having the money right in front of you.
Gaining financial knowledge is a life-long learning experience. The earlier you start, the better their foundation will be for understanding the importance of saving and making wise money decisions. Luckily, it doesn’t only have to be about learning a lesson; include these fun games in the process, and you’ll find that the most valuable lessons are taught along the way.