Kids are naturally very interested in money and financial transactions as they apply to getting things they want. This is a terrific teachable moment, and activities and games to do with money are interesting for younger kids with even with just basic math skills.
To get kids interested in money and aware of the importance of budgeting and planning, parents can:
- Play board games such as Life, Monopoly and even The Farming Game that are easy for older children or even younger kids with help. For older kids and teens, Daytrader, a board game about the stock market, is a great option.
- Have an allowance that the child or children are responsible for choosing to use or spend. If you aren’t comfortable with paying a child to do activities around the home, make the allowance based on extra activities and not on what you consider the basics.
- Start a bank account. Take your child to the bank and let him or her open an account in their own name. Most banks have an incentive program for kids, and it’s a great way to learn about earning interest and saving.
- Model budgeting. Instead of just going to the store and paying with credit or debit card, bring cash and talk to children about how you make choices to stay within the budget. Having the money in hand is more concrete for children.
- Set goals as a family. This could be for a family vacation or something special for the entire household, such as new computers or televisions. When kids see Mom and Dad saving, they are more likely to see the benefit in this as they get older.
It is important to keep everything age appropriate for the child. The more comfort children have with budgeting and planning when it comes to finances the easier it will be for them when they get older.