Teaching kids the value of money is an important part of kids appreciating what they have and being grateful.
But how do you get your kids to be money savvy from a young age? Mamas in Singapore have told us their tips and tricks to get kids familiar with money and doling out pocket money helps start the money conversation too. Empowering kids with the knowledge of money is the best gift money can’t buy. So how do you help kids make
cents sense of dollars? Here are some fun ways to teach your child about money and its value.
1. Role play games: Best for ages: 3 to 5 years
Your child might already love playing ‘shop keeper’. Why not take it a step further? A ‘Game of Supermarket’ is a great way to introduce the little ones to the concept of trade. Gather up a mix of toys on a shelf and stick different price tags on them with tape. Print out or cut up paper into a specific amount of cash and place them in a purse or wallet, just like mummy and daddy would. Take turns playing shopkeeper and customer so your kid understands both sides of the trade.
Lessons kids will learn:
- With $5 in their pockets, would they buy a carton of milk for their crying baby brother or a crayon box? Understanding buying priorities is a first big step for children.
- Primary school kids could be taught to count change and compare the actual expense to the budget agreed upon before the shopping. Let them work out why they shot out of budget.
- You can also play ‘bank’ where the cashier only hands out money if the child has completed the task given. This is a great way to teach them that money is a result of hard work and doesn’t magically appear in ATMs!
2. Board games: Best for ages: 5+
For slightly older kids, board games with a financial component combines fun and learning with great results. Take the classic Monopoly for example. Distributing money, deciding what property is worth buying, paying tax, selling a house to clear debts, collecting rent, bartering, even going to jail and posting bail! Financial prudence and allocation of resources, your kid will imbibe these two great life lessons while having a whale of a time. The Game of Life, Payday, Exact Change are some popular board games in the same genre that impart valuable financial lessons.
Lessons they learn:
- Children understand that money is needed to build houses, office buildings and their schools. The notion that things cost money widens.
- The concept of tax is introduced. Who pays for the roads, lights and infrastructure around us? The government does and we as citizens pay tax.
- Borrowing and sharing concepts which children at this age start adapting into their lives, is explored further with debts, rent, etc.
Watch as kids begin to relate these subconscious learnings to the real world next time you take them out shopping, sight-seeing or even just conversing in the car.
3. Mobile Apps: Best for ages: 5+
Getting electronic devices out of your child’s hands is the eternal struggle! But technology doesn’t always have to be your nemesis. There is some excellent education material in the App store, in the form of games that are sure to spark bright minds. Take the Piggy Bot app for example, that takes the good old concept of the piggy bank to a whole new level. Watch as your kids get hands on tracking their allowances, expenses and savings. The app even lets kids make a pictorial wish list to motivate them to cut out frivolous purchases and earn the toys they need.
Lessons they learn:
- ‘My money’ — the concept comes alive in a medium the kids love. Virtual learning of saving, is a crucial lesson in money management and can be easily implemented in real life.
- What does money do? Apps help kids understand in a fun way how the world of money works.
4. Family budgeting and shopping: Works best for ages: 5+
Read all the books you want about swimming, but you learn nothing till you jump into the water. Wading into finance is something like that. Give your child the gift of first-hand knowledge. Let your child write up the grocery list. Teach him or her to read labels and price tags and find the best deal. Help them maintain a notebook of expenses on groceries, electricity, and other costs every month. Involving the child in shopping decisions makes them feel important and responsible. Instead of saying a flat ‘no’ to the expensive set of paints they demand, put the question to them. Would this fit into our monthly budget? It is amazing how reasoning works with even the little ones. Don’t be surprised if you get an earful from them for keeping the lights on and wasting electricity when you leave the room!
Lessons they learn:
- Money saved is money earned. At the end of the month, when money you budgeted is not spent, awarding them is a great idea to impart the concept of a job well done.
- Delayed gratification is a tough concept for kids. But when they help you with budgeting, they realise why saving up for yet another fidget spinner is so important.
- Travel: Works best for ages: 4+
Traveling is one of the best things you do as a family, and it can be a perfect way to teach some money lessons. Away from school, routines and the rigmarole of daily life, take this opportunity to introduce your child to finance. From hotel rooms, flights, shopping bills, restaurants, tickets for sightseeing to even tips, let your child in on how it is done. When you travel abroad, you can teach your child about different currencies and exchange rates. Most importantly, teach them survival with a fun role play game. If one loses their wallet and belongings in a foreign land and has very little cash on them, how can they get back to their hotel room?
Lessons they learn:
- Money comes in different shapes, colours and sizes. Countries have different currencies. Their colours, and denominations differ. And Singaporean currency doesn’t work across the world. You need to use that to buy other currency.
Tell us how else you teach your child about the world of money?
Bankbazaar.sg is a leading online marketplace in Singapore that helps consumers compare and apply for a credit card, personal loan, home loan, car loan and insurance. Like BankBazaar Singapore on Facebook to discover tips and deals to save and earn you money.