Research indicates teaching and talking to kids about money is not easy. Doing it early, prior to age seven, makes the task even tougher. And this current hyper “consume-now” environment compounds the challenge. But, with these tips you can teach your kids great money habits.
Why should moms and dads teach kids about money prior to age 7? If you are not doing it consciously, you are doing it unconsciously. Perhaps more alarming, someone else is, according to the New York Times article ‘How advertising targets children.’
In fact, findings from a University of Cambridge study demonstrates that adult money habits are formed prior to seven. Advertisers get it. Parents should, too.
Tips To Teach Kids Great Money Habits
If you need help, you are not alone. Here are 3 tips that can help you catalyze money conversations and money education with your kids early!
A joint statement from the International Reading Association and the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) states, “THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ACTIVITY for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”
So read aloud to kids early and often. And, make certain storybooks that reflect your financial values are in the rotation. This can even begin when kids are in the womb, according to research from Penn State University.
Naturally, our favorite book is the award-winning, ‘It’s a Habit, Sammy Rabbit’ that shares the message, “saving is a great habit!”
And add Aesops Fables ‘The Grasshopper and the Ant’ to your reading list. It emphasizes the importance of hard work and preparation.
For more suggestions, check out Rutgers University Econ Kids. Do not worry one bit whether you think your kids understand the content. What is important is you expose them to it and they hear the language. A recent Time article indicates infants comprehend a lot more than parents give them credit for.
2. Songs, Sayings, and Slogans
Songs are a no brainer. Music enhances learning according to John Hopkins and common sense. You will find songs on personal finance kids of all ages will love on Sammy Rabbit’s You Tube station. Listen to “Get in the Habit”, “S-A-V-E” or “Lemonade Stand”.
These songs, like this one, will get stuck in you and your kids’ heads as they have for countless others. They impart lots of simple yet profound knowledge on great money habits like:
- Make saving money a habit
- Earning money is fun to do, and
- You can watch your money grow and grow and grow!
Set some time aside to give thought to your core money values. List them. Then see if you can work them into short, crisp, and memorable sayings or slogans you can share with your kids over and over and over again.
Remember, two things.
One, repetition is the mother of all skill.
Two, learning largely begins in language with the verbal things we hear and the non-verbal things we see. Although I did not always fully appreciate some of my father and mother’s sayings as a child, they are still fresh in my mind to this day. Now, I get it and am greatly appreciative of it.
3. Instill the Habit
As best-selling author Charles Duhigg writes, “habits are powerful.” One reason, you do not have to use energy thinking about them. One of the best money habits a parent can instill in their children is the habit of saving money. It has lots of non-monetary benefits. For example, it teaches children to delay gratification and set goals. It also builds their confidence and esteem.
Either get your child a transparent savings or piggy bank. Better yet, when they are ready, have them create their own.
We have a family savings jar. It was an enormous Sparlett’s bottle we re-purposed. It stood tall in a prominent corner in our living room where everyone could see it. We all loved it. We would deposit to it. We would lift it up and shake it. We would guess how much money we had saved in it. We would talk about how we would use the savings in it. And, yes, we would pour the contents onto the floor, separate and count coins. It brought the family together. It gave us all a common purpose and goal. It was a real gift. It gave us all a lifetime of cherished memories.
I love to champion authors and reading every opportunity I get. So, I want to recommend the following books that have helped me develop my thinking on kids and money and think will be helpful to you as well.
- Janet Bodnar, Raising Money Smart Kids
- Jack Jonathan, Yes You Can Raise Financially Aware Kids
- Carrie Schwab Pomerantz and Charles R. Schwab, It Pays to Talk
Check out this article on being money-wise with kids: