Recently, we have been thinking about how and when we should begin to educate our children about money. For example at what age do you introduce the concept of money, from pocket money through to savings and even credit ratings ( you can actually click here for your free credit report) when they are much older, of course.
As a nation, the British tend to be quite reserved when it comes to discussing money. Yet it is such an important subject and I actually think children should learn more about at school than they currently do. Chinese children, on the other hand, will learn about money from family members from a very young age. Not just the maths side of money but more in-depth subjects such as the concept of taking risk, investing vs savings and even lending vs borrowing etc. Quite a stark contrast to the way British children are brought up.
I asked some of my mummy friends, an international group of ladies, how they approach teaching their children about money. Here are some of my favourite suggestions:
- Teach them about money as soon as they learn to count. This means actually counting things out rather than reciting numbers. E has just about got the hang of this, meaning that now would be a good time for us to start. So, whenever we're paying for things we try to talk about prices and how some items cost more than others.
- It's ok to say no! You know when you're in a shop and your little one is about to have a meltdown because you won't buy them that My Little Pony trinket. I've been there many a time and it's so easy just to relent and buy them whatever they want but actually when (and if) you've calmed them down you can use this as a good opportunity to explain to them why they can't always have everything that they want!
- Role plays - when we go to the local playground there's a section of the climbing frame that the children think looks like a shop. The children will pretend to sell me things from the shop and I have started to get the pennies out of my purse and I will ask them how much the various items cost in their shop and I pretend to pay them in coints.
-KidZania- Since KidZania opened in London earlier this year it has been a hit with children and parents alike. KidZania, is a child size town where children get to try various jobs and actually get paid for their work. The children love getting to act as grown-ups for the day and the parents find the lessons the children learn invaluable.
-Pocket money/ Money Jar- with my two having just turned 2 & 4, I feel like they're still a little small for pocket money. So, instead we will be going with The Money Jar suggestion. Whenever either child is particularly well behaved, kind to the other sibling, helps out at home or even does well at school, we will give them a coin to put in the jar. The jar will have certain levels and when they reach each level then they will get a reward. Once the jar is full they can buy something that they like, anything from a toy to a trip on the bus.
- It's ok to say no! You know when you're in a shop and your little one is about to have a meltdown because you won't buy them that My Little Pony trinket. I've been there many a time and it's so easy just to relent and buy them whatever they want but actually, when (and if) you've calmed them down you can use this as a good opportunity to explain to them why they can't always have everything that they want!
How do you teach your little ones about money, I would love to hear if you have any helpful tips for me?