By: Krystle Crossman
Children are exposed to money at a very early age. Many get money from the “Tooth Fairy” when they lose their first few teeth. Others get an allowance for doing their chores every week. Some may even have their own bank accounts so they can learn how to save money and earn interest. With money being a large part of our everyday lives it is a good idea to teach your children about finances early on so they will have a head start for when they are out on their own.
1. Preschool age (3-5): Break out the coins and start playing with them. Show your child the different colors and different sizes. Teach them about the different amounts. Some children may have a hard time with the concept that a dime is not worth less than a nickel because it is smaller, but eventually they will come to understand. Show them how to put their money in a safe place like a piggy bank and explain why it is better to wait to spend money than is to spend it as soon as they have it.
2. Grade school (6-10): At this point your children are old enough to learn about an allowance. Make up a chart that will show them how much allowance they can earn per chore. This shows them the value of working for money instead of having it handed over to them. Show them how much they can make over time if they save that money for a rainy day. Teach them about saving at least a small portion of that allowance for when they have an emergency situation (which at that age is the new toy that they will just die without). They may not grasp the concept of saving money in an emergency fund but then again many adults don’t either.
3. Junior High (11-13): This is the age where shopping becomes a fun activity that they would like to do all the time. It is a great time to teach them about looking for sales and getting the best deals so they can make the most out of their money. You can also show them that if there is something that they want such as a new iPod, they will have to save up to get it.
4. High School (14-18): This is the age where money may be the most important. It is almost time for them to buy a car, get a job, and set up their own bank account. Teach them how to balance a checkbook. Show them how much they have taken out of their check because of taxes. They will learn the true value of a dollar once they have to work hard to get it. They also may be saving up for something such as college which makes it even more imperative for them to get a job and focus on saving.