If you're wondering when it's the ideal time to start teaching your kids about the value of a dollar, honestly, it's probably right around the time that they start asking you to buy them things (right, very early on). That's because the sooner that they are able to understand that money really doesn't grow on trees, that it has to be earned and used in a responsible fashion, the easier life will be for them in the years to come. Yes, talking to your child about money is a highly wise investment into their financial future.
Of course, as we all know, the topic of money can tend to be a bit of a complicated one and so you have to approach the subject in an age-appropriate fashion. That's why we've provided you with five tips on how to teach your kids about the value of a dollar in ways that can reach the youngest tot to the older teen:
Start with some games. Luckily, there are a lot of games that can help to teach children of all ages about money management. Some traditional board games include The Allowance Game, The Farm Game, Life, Monopoly, Money Bags and Pay Day. You can also find games that they can play online at websites like Piggybank.Disney.Go.com, ABCya.com and APlusMath.com.
Give them an allowance (or a job). One of the best ways to teach a child how to manage money is to give them some money to manage. You can do this either by providing them with a weekly allowance or paying them to do extra jobs outside of their chores around the house. When they get their monies, you can ask them about what their plans are and then encourage them to think about actions such as getting a little something that they would like right now or saving up for something that they would absolutely love later.
Open up a savings account. From the moment that you found out that you were pregnant with your son or daughter, it would have been a good idea to have opened up a savings account for them. But, just in case that you didn't, why not open up one now? Once they are old enough to understand the purpose of a bank, you can even take them to speak with a bank teller or manager there; someone who can explain to them what a checking and savings account is for.
Teach them how to budget. Around their birthday or the holidays is a perfect time to talk to your kids about the importance of budgeting while teaching the some foundational tools on how to spend and save wisely. For instance, if they receive quite a few checks in the mail, talk to them about implementing principles like saving half and spending the rest or even going online to look for ways that they can get the outfit, toy or video game that they want at a discount price.
Share with them your own experiences. You certainly don't need an MBA in finance to have some expert advice to offer your child about money. Some of the best lessons are those learned from personal experience, so make the time to tell them about some of the times when you spent more than you should or when you were able to save and get just what you wanted. Children are highly influenced by their parents. Even when you feel like they may not be, trust us, they're listening.
This is a guest post written specifically for this site. Opinions expressed are of the author.