Teaching Kids About Money – 3 to 6 Year Olds

At this point in a child’s cognitive development they should begin to understand the concept of counting. This is the perfect time to introduce your children to the general concept of money.


Introducing finances at a young age helps children learn to do everyday adding, subtracting, multiplication, division, and percentages. Interestingly enough and because of our cashless environments, many children aren’t effectively learning these skills anymore.

Children, Money, Counting
Teaching Children how to Count Money

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So how can parents assist in teaching these skills to children?


Once children reach pre-school age, they are ready for an allowance. There is a longstanding parenting debate over whether allowances should be earned or given. That is for each parent to decide. What is clear though is that no matter how they earn their allowance, parents should take this opportunity to teach children about saving.


A great way to do that is to label 3 piggy banks –one for spending, one for saving, and one for giving to charity. Parents can also make a creative project out of decorating and labelling jars that will add to childrens excitement at controlling their own money.


Once your child has some money in each of the banks, make an event of depositing money in a savings account, donating money to a charity of your child’s choice, and spending the rest on things that your child really wants.


Letting you child use their spending money on whatever they want will also help them learn that they can spend this money on a lot of cheap stuff or on one item of better quality for the same amount of money.


Children and Spending
Children and Spending

If you prefer a cashless environment then Capitec Bank have a great savings account that allows for up to 4 separate accounts for money goals. Each account has its own account number and can also be allocated a name. i.e. spending, saving, giving. You can show your child how you spilt the money into the separate accounts. The main account which can be accessed with a debit card can be the “spending” account. Your child can only access the other accounts online - with your help of cause - which will keep that money safe from being used with the Debit Card.


Family members and friends can use special events like birthdays to pay money into these accounts.


Now let’s take a closer look at earning, spending, saving, giving.

Earning

At ages of 3 to 6 your child can’t work in a job to earn money, but they can earn an allowance by completing simple chores, like making their bed or cleaning their room. Be sure to tie their allowance to completing every chore. If they’re not 100% done by the end of the week, they don’t get paid.


Spending

Learning how to spend responsibly empowers your child and is also a good start to their decision-making skills. Talk to your child about spending. Discuss the differences between items and their value. You can buy a lot of cheap toys or you can save for a more expensive toy that will last longer. Even if your child initially decides to buy the cheaper toys, he/she will quickly figure out that these toys break easily and then may consider saving for better qualify items in the future. Allow your child to figure this out on their own, while always discussing the pros and cons of each.


Children at this age also tend to consider their spending choices more carefully when they’re spending money they’ve earned, as opposed to money they’ve been given. But when your child purchases something, make sure they know they’ve earned it. Whatever the purchase, it belongs solely to them.


Save, Spend, Share, Charity
Teach your Kids to Save, Spend and Share through Giving to Charity

Saving

As your child begins to earn their own money, they’re going to learn that some items are more expensive than others and that people must save what they earn to reach larger goals. If they’re impatient to make a costly purchase, offer them extra chores or agree to match a certain percentage of their earnings if they save.


Never give in to a child that wants an expensive item now, by buying It for them. Make sure that you teach your child the value of saving for something that they really want vs getting it because they throw a tantrum or sulk when they don’t get their way.


If you do give in to your child then you are teaching him or her to be irresponsible with money and later on in adult years this will lead to reckless lending of credit and debt.


Giving

Giving to charity is shown to have a beneficial effect on the brain. Teach your children to give 10% of their money to help others, and it will become a habit they’ll keep all their life.


Message to Parents

We are big supporters of teaching children to live within their means, pay themselves first and save 15% of what they earn. The only way to teach children these principals is if you, as a parent, practice these principal too. Your child learns by example. So be a good one.




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About our Author

Lauren is a registered member of the National Credit Regulator. Prior to that, she worked as a Financial and Technical consultant for McGregor-BFA (Now INET-BFA). McGregor-BFA provided Trading and Market related data as well as Investment management software to Asset Managers, University Business Schools and Investment entities. Thereafter experience was advanced to the Property Market working as a Project Manager for Propertyi. But it was her career at the IEB in Adult Education that inspired a passion of hers to educate consumers about responsible ways of managing their financial lives and the long term advantages of doing so. It is her belief that financial education should be taught from an early age. By doing so we can create a country that is economically stable, driven not only by work ethics, but by becoming Financially Independent too.

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