Children are great learners. Maybe it’s because they have not yet developed the attitudes and behaviors that many of us have. They control or have some input, as consumers, on a lot of household spending. They do not need as much help learning to spend as they do learning how to save.
Teaching children about saving money and giving children a better understanding of what is at stake is essential for their growth and development with money. Therefore, consider introducing saving and teaching your children about saving money, as early as elementary school or even sooner. Preschool-age children are curious about money and actually want to accept some responsibility and may welcome the opportunity to save money. There is never a better time to teach children about money and saving. Even if your kids are a bit older, there is no time like the present.
Setting kids on the path to becoming good savers is not difficult and can actually be fun. The following are a few activities that parents can do with their children, even if they do not feel financially well informed themselves.
- Buy or make a piggy bank and decorate it to help children save money. This can be an engaging activity for the parent and child. This activity can also get your children excited about saving. Let them get as creative as they like, this will help them feel connected to the saving effort.
- Help your children set and work toward a modest, short-term savings goal. For young children, it can be something like a special toy, or video game. Something that they can reach fairly easily. For teens, the goal can be more significant, like saving for a class trip or the prom. Resist the temptation of starting with goals that are too big and too far in the future. If you can afford to, offer your kids age-appropriate extra jobs to earn money.
- Encourage your child to put coins and savings into the piggy bank. If the bank is transparent, the child will be able to track progress visually. Piggy banks are great for children because they enable immediate action, a place to save gifts or allowance right away.
- While you are teaching your children about saving money, consider setting a family saving goal for something like a fun vacation. This is a great opportunity for parents to set a good example, regardless of how they have managed money in the past. Additionally, initiate a conversation with your children about money and finances. You and your family can also work together collecting loose change or maybe having a yard sale to help establish saving as a good habit and a family value.
- You can also help kids become good savers by reading money related stories and playing money games with them. Any experiences with money, and how to do good things with money will help teach children. Additionally, there is a wide array of financial education programs and resources available to help you teach your children about money and saving.
Remember, when teaching children about saving money, if your children’s first saving experience is exciting and fun, they are more likely to want to do it repeatedly. And they can never be too young to learn something about money. Remember, they are great learners. Take care.