Growing up, kids are taught many important skills at school – how to read, how to write, how to think critically. But what about personal finance? Since most schools don’t have any sort of personal finance education, it’s up to parents to help children learn about the value of money and financial planning in order to prepare them for their future.
To that end, we’ve put together a list of 5 ways you can make financial education fun for kids so that your little ones are equipped with the knowledge they need as young adults and be financially successful.
1) Start Young
The younger you start your kids on financial education, and have them develop good habits and discipline around saving, spending, budgeting and giving money—the better. It’s never too early (or too late) to begin financial education. Let your kids have hands-on learning through simple games: You could offer incentives like cash rewards or gifts when they reach certain savings goals. A fun piggy bank can make the activity even more rewarding!
2) Use Games and Activities
You can work financial concepts into games and activities you already play with your kids. For example, you could have them keep an eye out for certain kinds of products when they’re at the supermarket with you. These are opportunities to teach your kids more about money while they’re going about their daily lives. When they don’t realize they’re actually being taught, it feels just like fun and games—enrichment learning at its finest! You can also try setting up a cost-per-play system where each dollar saved earns points that can be redeemed for prizes at their favorite stores. Financial education doesn’t need to be boring!
3) Be Positive About Money
If you can instill positive feelings about money in your kids at a young age, they’ll likely be more inclined to think of it as something helpful rather than anything with negative connotations. Research has shown that attitudes about money formed at a young age remain fairly consistent throughout life, so if we want our kids to grow up with healthy financial attitudes and smart money skills, we need to take action now and be positive role models when it comes to finances.
4) Make it Meaningful
We can’t think of a better way to make financial education fun for kids than having them spend some time reflecting on what is truly meaningful in life. While there are many books and resources available to families, nothing beats having real-life conversations around family values.
One great way to lead these types of discussions is by going out into your local community. Find a charity and have your children volunteer there or do some research on how to help disadvantaged youth get an education. This will make them understand the true value of money and also learn about giving and sharing.
5) Lead by Example
If you don’t want your kids ending up with credit card debt, teach them about finances early. Show them how to manage money wisely and pay their bills on time, and you can start by setting a good example and showing your kids how you manage your finances in ways that they would understand. For example, when you go to the supermarket you can show them how much things cost and how you would budget your shopping in a simple way. Your child will be more likely to succeed financially when they understand personal finance from an early age. With an understanding of how real life and real economy works, they’ll be less likely to make poor financial choices later on in life.