Cents and Sensibility

Ways to Teach Young Kids About Money

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Last week, I spoke about tips on raising money-savvy teens. This week, I will help you teach your younger kids (between 6 and 10) about money matters. Money lessons at this age sets the tone for the rest of their lives. You really can’t start too early. Check out these simple and fun ways to teach young kids about money.

#1 .Provide the Fundamentals: A: Identify money. Make sure your child knows the differences between pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. B. Make change. Ensure that your child knows how to present enough money to cover a cost and how to count change. C. Be responsible. If your child loses five dollars that was in his or her pants pocket, your child must know that it was his or her loss — and it will not or can not be replaced.

#2. Show and Tell: Show and tell your kids to use cash instead of credit cards. Play games such as Monopoly and let your kids hold money in their hands. When parking, let your kids deposit the coins in the meter. If they see you using cash, they will grow up knowing that it is the norm and they will follow your lead when they’re older.

#3. Banks: Give them a modern piggy bank that shows your kids more than just saving money. Some piggy banks have coin slots that are labeled “save,” “spend,” “donate,” and “invest.” With the modern piggy bank, your kids can learn that money is not strictly for purchasing items.

#4. Life Lessons: Providing great money habits for your children is a major life lesson for them. When you experience money troubles or mishaps, inform and educate your children on the situation and how you were able to get out of it. Many families hide their money issues from their children, but it can be something that they can avoid in the long run.

#5. Encourage Them to Donate: Encourage your children to donate or give money to a charity or organization of their choice. Make donating enjoyable so they will continue to give back once they become teenagers and adults. Also, volunteer together at the local food pantry or participate in a community fundraiser with your children.

Final Thought: Putting instant gratification aside for a moment, once your children learn they can buy thing that they desire with money — like toys and candy — they will begin holding on to every dime that they get their hands on. If you start this early, it will determine what kind of financial manager your child will become as an adult.


About Dr. Karen Ratliff

Karen Ratliff

Credit: Dr. Karen Ratliff

Dr. Ratliff is a certified life coach and professional educator, assisting many people in accomplishing financial, career, and educational goals.  She is also the author of “Tightening Your Bootstraps: 104 Tips to Kick Your Debt to the Curb Now.” Keep up with her budgetary advice via Twitter @drkarenratliff  her website at, and her facebook fanpage “Financially Focused with Dr. Karen Ratliff.”