In the last article, we spoke in-depth about how introducing the concept of money to children at a young age lays foundation stone for a stronger future. Not only that, it is an important life skill.
A lot of people around me argue that it is pointless burdening little children about ‘big’ concepts like money. They anyway have to get in the grind later on. Here’s why. Learning about money and putting it to good use is an essential life skill. Lessons at this age set the tone for later formative years. Also, the standard of living is escalating every year, and by the time our kids grow up, they will be living in more challenging times than we are. Saving for a rainy day or for things that you really need will dominate the kind of lives they will lead.
While we live in the times of instant gratification, delaying gratification is, in fact, challenging for adults too. But if we prepare our kids to modify their behavior a little, it will make them better at ‘adulating’. Teaching (older) kids to delay gratification will actually be an asset to their personality once they grow up. A lot of children who are used to get what they want instantly have issues dealing with rejects, and even failures later on.
Teaching Kids About Money: Age by age activities
We have a few age-specific activities you can engage your kids in so that learning is not only assimilated well, but also the journey becomes a memory to cherish for a lifetime.
Don’t be baffled. You will be surprised how these kids pick up things and internalize them.
Lesson: Wait for what you want.
Kids at this age should be ‘demonstrated’ how to wait and save for something they really desire. Instead of instructing them and making it sound like a harsh rule, parents can be partners in their tasks.
- We spoke about creating saving jars. You can take that a step ahead and create three jars labeled “Saving,” “Spending,” or “Sharing.” Every time your child receives money, help them divide the money among the jars. Ask the older kids how they would like to divide their money. Encourage them to put money in the “sharing” jar too. Tell them that money can be used to help a lesser privileged person in need.
- Keep realistic and achievable goals. If things that they are saying for is super expensive, they will have to wait for months and lose patience since they are fairly young. Little achievements will keep them going and believe in the power of saving.
Lesson: Choose where to spend.
It is necessary to explain to your child that money is a finite resource and that your choices will determine how much money you have in your life.
- Apart from engaging them in activities related to small matters, you can involve them in decision making about money. For instance, while you take them out for shopping, tell them you chose one brand over the other as the former was cost-effective. You can tell them how money can be saved on bulk buying of essential and non-perishable items.
- Actually give your child some money, say Rs 100 and have him, or her choose which fruit they would like to buy, how much would they need etc. You are not only buying them what they want but also give them experiences and the power of making a choice.
Lesson: The earlier you begin, the more your money grows
This is the right age to travel from for short-term goals to long-term goals. Introduce the concept of compound interest to them.
- Describe compound interest using real numbers and figures so that they realize how money can grow as they grow as well as economy too undergoes massive changes.
- Tell them how trade-offs work. If they have the habit of eating a lot of junk or go out and spend on mindless games, tell them they can give their luxuries a miss once a while so that they can really buy the ipod or smartphone they desire. Of course, you will help them with funds, but once they too pool in money, they will value what they have more than they otherwise would.