Teaching children about money

QUESTION: When does a child start learning about money?

ANSWER: Children are born learners.

By age five, they know a lot about themselves and the world. By observation they know some things about money. But the rules for using money are not simple.

They see people use money, checks and credit cards to buy things. What we want our young children to know about money depends on our personal values.

Here are some concepts that Thrive by Five has recommended be taught to young children:

•Spending, saving and sharing are ways to use money.

•Buying (spending) means trading money for things.

•Saving allows us to buy something in the future because we don’t have enough money today.

•People have jobs that pay money.

•Money also can come from gifts.

•We can keep money safe at home and other places, like a bank.

•Paper money and coins are worth different amounts.

•Different things have different prices.

•People pay for things in different ways.

•People have different needs and wants.

•People have a limited amount of money to spend.

•Money can be spent only once — after we buy something, we need more money to buy something else.

•Planning helps people set goals and make choices about money.

•Some things do not cost any money.

•People do some things for each other without being paid.

•People give money to help others.

•People in a community share the cost of some work done for everyone.

As parents and grandparents, it’s important to understand the development characteristics of 4- and 5-year-olds.

They understand the idea of saving when they can see and touch the amount. Money is seen as a way to get things they want. They see money as having the same value; however, they may think that coins have more value than paper money. Preschoolers understand the concept of borrowing by borrowing something and returning it, like a book from the library or a video from a store.

They know that everyone must do unpaid routine family tasks. They need opportunities to make limited choices and can choose between two or three items to be purchased. Remember: parents teach first.

If you would like to talk about the challenges of raising children, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 877-434-9528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out www.familiesandcommunities.org

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