Children and money… what to tell them? what to teach them? how to teach them?  It’s never too early to start teaching the Little Monkeys about finances.

In Canada, financial literacy is not a required school subject although there is no doubt it should be.  Parents need to make sure that they are helping their children learn the basics of financial management.

Kids_MoneyThe worst thing is for kids to assume that money comes from the bank machine, or perhaps the green growing money tree.   It is better to start planting the seeds of strong financial habits while they’re young because once they’re teenagers, they might not be as receptive to parent’s sound advice… say what… a teenager who does not want to listen to their parents, impossible!

The trick is to get kids interested in learning about money and making it fun.  There are many tools on the net to help with this.  Here are just a few:

 Avengers: Saving the Day

This comic book, created by Visa and Marvel Comics, features a story around the popular Avengers characters.  Kids learn about personal finance while battling the always evil Mole Man.  It introduces children to basic financial concepts such as budgeting, saving and banking.

Peter Pig’s Money Counter

An older game launched by Visa Canada, it encourages players to boost their bank balance by counting and sorting coins, teaching them about saving and banking.  It is one of several activities on the site for children of all ages.  There are cost calculators, budget templates and quizzes.

Money Mama and the Three Little Pigs

The bKids_4_Prosperityook’s author, Lori Mackey, who also founded Prosperity 4 Kids, uses a 10-10-10-70 system for teaching kids how to budget their money.  She suggests parents teach children to save 10 per cent, invest 10 per cent, donate 10 per cent, and live off 70 per cent.  To make this real for kids, when you give them a dollar, give two quarters and five dimes.  Sit with them and allocate coins… most kids are visual learners so this should help them understand.

 Some additional tips to help kids become savvy about money!

  • Get a piggy bank, it’s a concrete way for your Little Monkeys to understand how to save their moneyKids_Money
  • Applaud them for what they have saved.  Perhaps give them a goal and once that is met you can kick in 25% or 50% to increase their savings
  • Speak openly, often and honestly to your Little Monkeys about money
Teaching kids about money can be easy if you take the time and make it fun!  Pretend that you just finished working for two weeks and now it is time to get paid.  We love to play grocery store, get some money and distribute to everyone who is playing.  Get the tin cans, pasta and whatever else you can find.  Grab a laundry basket for the grocery cart and go shopping.

There are so many ways to teach the little ones about money, experiment and have fun!


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