5 ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS TO SUCCESSFULLY TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT MONEY
It’s hard to believe that one of life’s most important skills financial literacy isn’t taught in our schools. It’s up to parents, guardians & caregivers to try and navigate & share these essential life lessons.
So where do you start? What if your own money habits leave a little to be desired?
It can be particularly daunting when you realise by age 3 children understand the basic concepts of spending & saving, and by age 7 their money habits are already being formed (Dr David Whitebread & Dr Sue Bingham – Cambridge University, Habit Formation & Learning in Young Children 2013)
It maybe tempting to jump right in, break out the piggy bank, set up the chores chart & start talking money. But WAIT before you jump in boots’n’all take a look at these 5 preparation tips which will go a long way in making your money lessons a success. As the saying goes
1. KNOW YOUR MONEY ATTITUDE & VALUES
Children are like sponges, without us even knowing it they absorb our attitudes, expressions, mannerisms and life perspectives. As time goes on these form significant parts of their identity. So, it is important that we are aware of own money attitudes and the conscious & subconscious messages we pass on when dealing with money. Are you a spender, hoarder, avoider? See money as freedom, security, power, or an expression of love. All these things can influence how your kids relate to money as they get older.
Going hand in hand with money attitudes it is important to know your money values or more importantly the money values you wish to instill in your child & model as a family. This is the bit that can often trip parents up. It’s not uncommon for you and your partner to have different money values. The essential things here is to communicate and accept your differences, but also find common ground and prioritise the key values you want to instil in your children, so both of you are ‘singing from the same song sheet’ & delivering the same message when it comes to money.
2. UNDERSTAND HOW YOUR CHILD LEARNS BEST
I’d be the first to admit that money isn’t the most exciting subject in the world, and it has the potential to become a thousand times more boring if you sit a child at a table who loves being outside to learn. Younger children learn best via imitation and learning from experience rather than instruction. As parent’s you’ll know the activities and things that hold your child’s attention and interest. So, ask yourself (or them) What is something they can do for hours on end? They might enjoy craft activities, books, computer games, outdoor activities, pretend play whatever it is it will be important you cater to what they enjoy so they have the best opportunity to learn.
3. COMMIT TO TEACHABLE MOMENTS
A teachable moment is an unplanned event during the day that you can use as a learning opportunity. Kids often ask questions piqued by their curiosity and this is one of the times when they are most open to learning. Sometimes these questions come at the most inopportune times or can be a little tricky to handle in a public setting. But by making the commitment to yourself to take the time to answers these questions, you encourage a child’s life-long learning & instill a valuable lesson at a time they are willing to learn.
Although teachable moments can’t be planned as such, you can plan how you’d answer some of those curly questions that kids often ask. Take for example the plain old shopping expedition – there wouldn’t be a parent on the planet that hasn’t at some stage experienced the ‘I want that – why can’t I have that?’ moment. Rather than the immediate shut down, ‘we can’t afford it’, ‘you just can’t’. This is a great opportunity to introduce the concepts of budgeting, wants vs needs, or even saving.
4. MAKE IT FUN
That might seem like a pretty obvious point although it is definitely a point worth making. Numerous studies have shown that by making learning fun it assists with the processing of information & activates the long-term storage area of our brains. So, the more mystery, discovery, humour, playfulness that you can incorporate the better your chances of long term success.
5. BE CONSISTENT
Learning about financial literacy is like learning to read or ride a bike – you don’t just do it once or twice and expect to have it mastered. Regular & consistent practice is what makes you successful. Then as you get better you can progress onto harder books or learn to ride or bigger bikes perhaps even a unicycle.
Ideally money talk needs to be a consistent theme throughout a child’s life tailored to their level of understanding and pace of learning. It is not just a lesson to be ticked off the list as a job well done. It’s a continual learning process.
One final thing to remember – you many not feel like a money expert but compared to a child you have a PhD in money matters – so don’t be afraid to start sharing what you know sooner rather than later.
The greatest compliment you can give us is to like, subscribe or share 🙂