Financial competency is a highly beneficial skill that can impact and improve an individual’s quality of life. Forbes reports that about half of Americans are struggling or feel unprepared for retirement, and many experts believe that stems from their upbringing.
That’s why teaching kids to save money is a critical part of parenting.
Unfortunately, many parents feel they aren’t properly equipped to begin these conversations, which ultimately can lead to the conversations not happening at all.
Today, we’ll discuss some ways parents can start these types of conversations with their children and improve teaching kids to save money.
1. Read Children’s Books Together
In my book, Larry the Bunny Saves His Money, I make the concept of saving money easy for children to grasp. The book demonstrates how to save money in a simple way: Larry the Bunny makes ten carrots per day and saves two for another day.
Books like this, along with many other children’s books, do an excellent job of introducing classically adult topics in simple and appropriate ways. When parents read books like this with their kids, it opens up the door to further the discussion and apply it to real-life situations.
2. Play Money-Related Games
Games have long evolved since the days of Go Fish and Solitaire. Today, the market boasts hundreds of card games, board games, and even learning games. These games offer a fun and easy way to teach your children about things like language arts, math, and yes – even money.
Monopoly Jr. is an easy example of a money-related game that can showcase the art of spending and saving money to a child. While the game is fun and interactive and allows you to connect with your son or daughter in a way they enjoy, it also teaches them about the value of money.
While you’re playing games like this one, you can interject with questions about how much money they have, how much they’re spending, what they can afford, and how they should be saving. Parents can also explain why saving is a good thing and demonstrate the results of their savings during the game.
3. Use Real-Life Situations
A good parent can strategically take many of life’s everyday situations and turn them into teaching moments. For example, a child getting a bad grade on an assignment can be an excellent opportunity to discuss how working hard and studying are important to success.
In the same way, parents can apply everyday moments concerning money and use them to start conversations with their children about spending and saving.
The topic can be very simple. While many parents may shy away from revealing financials with their children, it actually may be more helpful to keep them in the loop. When your 9-year-old asks if you can order pizza for dinner, you can seize the opportunity to explain how cooking dinner at home will save money.
Any real-life situation that involves a child asking to spend money is a chance to explain how mom and dad work hard to make money so they can pay for the house and the food, and they also save money to pay for other things later, like vacations and college.
If you’re not sure how to start talking with your kids about money, a book like Larry the Bunny Saves His Money, may be the place to start!