Top 10 Ways Parents Can Teach Kids Financial Lessons
Want to make sure your kids grow up knowing the basics of how to handle their money responsibly? Check out these tips from Dr. Prakash Dheeriya, a finance professor and author of a book series about teaching money management to children:
- Compensate your children for extraordinary effort, work or errand done, particularly if they do it without being told. Reward them for positive change in their behavior.
- Don't reward with material things or money for being a member of the family or for doing what a child is supposed to do.
- Remember that every moment with your child is a teachable moment. For example, when driving to school, show them the prices on gas stations and explain why they change so often. Explain the prices using concepts of demand and supply.
- Take your children grocery shopping. While in a store, tell them they need to buy a cereal box, or some item. Give them money and tell them to pick one and to do it wisely. If they can count money, ask them to complete the purchase transaction on their own. Discuss what they did right and what they can do better next time.
- Teach children the value of comparison shopping.
- Make use of coupons in their presence. Show them the value of buying in bulk, shopping at garage sales and flea markets.
- Take your children to the bank and open a savings account in their name and request an ATM card for them. Once you receive the card, show them how to deposit cash using an ATM. Once in a while, show them how cash is withdrawn. Ask them to keep a running total of their balance.
- When paying for a dinner at a restaurant, ask your children who will pay for the meal and how they should pay for the meal - via cash, check or credit card. Talk to them about pros and cons of using a credit card.
- Talk to children about identity theft and the importance of protecting personal information from strangers. This can be done while completing a school application form, writing a check or paying for toys in a toy store.
Explain to your children that money is just a tool and they don't need it to make them happy. It is a means to an end and not the ultimate goal in life.
- Teach them the values associated with sharing, recycling and caring for others and the environment.
Dr. Prakash Dheeriya is a professor of finance at California State University-Dominguez Hills and author of Finance for Kidz, a 20-volume series of books that teaches children about money management, personal finance and planning for the future.