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Teachable Money Moments for Kids

| August 23, 2017
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Most children grasp concepts best when they can deal with actual things. When teaching children about money, opening the lines of communication through stories, books and experiences is important—but you can only take the lesson so far. The next step is to make the leap from abstract to tangible.

Here are tangible ways to teach children about money:

1. Start a money jar. For a younger child, skip the fancy store-bought piggy banks. A child really needs to SEE the money being saved, so take a trip together to your local craft store and find a clear glass jar. You can even make it special by decorating it together. Children will be able to physically see the impact of their savings as the coins and dollars pile up, which can lead to a feeling of accomplishment.

2. Start their first savings account. For an older child, spend some time researching banks together to see which one provides the highest interest rate, and explain how it impacts a balance over time. Then, make an event out of opening up their first savings account at the bank you’ve chosen together.

3. Show how banking works. The next time you need to deposit or withdraw money, skip the electronic option and take children with you to your bank to watch and experience the transaction. Seeing the transaction happen in person will help bridge the mental gap from what you’ve explained to the action itself. It’s important for children to understand that, just like a piggy bank, they can only get out of a bank account what they put into it!

4. Take a field trip. Call your local bank and see if they offer tours. Children will be wide-eyed and amazed at seeing the vault, the safe deposit box room and how the drive-through teller works. If you live in a larger city or plan to visit one, you can take children to tour a stock exchange, a Federal Reserve Bank, Wall Street or even the United States Mint. If you can’t visit in person, many of these locations offer online virtual tours on their websites.

5. Pay in cash. Whether you are buying groceries, gas or a coffee, little eyes are always watching you! Try to pay in cash when children are with you. Every time your money leaves your hand to purchase goods or services, it strengthens the lesson for them regarding the value of it. While credit and debit cards are certainly convenient, they do not have the same educational impact on a child as actual currency. Talk to children about how much money you started with that day, how much money you spent and how much money you have left for the rest of the week.

If you have another tangible idea to help teach children about money, let us know. We’d love to hear about it!

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