Growing up we were never really taught about money, except that we never really had any. Saving, budgeting, and other common sense money ideas were never really something we learned about. Because of this, and the general hubris of being young with a good job, I never really did learn to have a healthy relationship with money which got my husband and I into money trouble once we got together. Because of this, it is important to me to help the kids learn about money and how to build a healthy relationship with it so hopefully they can learn from our bad money handling experience and have a better hope of being responsible with their money young.
How to Teach Your Toddler About Money
First things first, teaching your child exactly what each coin and dollar bill is. Start with coins. Kids love magnets so why not make a few coins into refrigerator magnets. You can get small adhesive magnets at your local craft store or online here. Stick the magnets to the back of the coins and you have instant refrigerator magnets. You want to be sure to have 2 sets of coins, one to show the front of the coin and one to show the back. This way your kids will learn what each side looks like. When your child asks for something out of the refrigerator ask them to pay you with one of the magnetic coins. This will help them learn the names and values of the coins.
Kids love to sort and pile things up. Give them a jar of coins, dump them out and have your child sort them by type of coin into piles. Once they are finished with that you can talk to them about the value of each specific coin and together count how much money you have.
Start teaching your toddler by rewarding them with an allowance for chores or good behavior. A great way to start is by using play money. Each day allow your child to earn money for the chores and at the end of the week let them choose a reward from a “Store” that you have already stocked with goodies. If you would prefer to use real money then its great to teach your children that sometimes you might have to wait to buy something. Kids need to learn if they want something badly enough they need to save up until they have enough money to buy it.
One great activity is to get 3 jars or piggy banks. Label them Save, Spend and Give. Explain to them that when they earn money from helping out around the house they will need to put a certain amount of that money into each of the 3 jars.
- The save jar is to keep money in till they have enough to buy the bigger item they want. Each time you put money in the saving jar count it up and talk to your child about how they are getting closer to their goal by being patient and working hard.
- The spend jar is to allow them to go to the store and buy something small like a toy at dollar tree or a candy bar.
- The give jar is very important it is to teach kids the importance of helping others. It can be given to the church or take your kids to buy some clothing or something for a kid in need.
Don’t be afraid to discuss money with your toddler. It is important to help your kids learn to respect and be comfortable with money earlier in life, this will make them more likely to be able to use money to reach their dreams in life. Expose them to positive ways of using and saving money.
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