Teaching Children About Money begins at Home
My family and I just returned from a home-schooling teaching conference that was held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. This was our fourth home-schooling event in the past three years. I am still feeling the love that was radiating at this gathering. I have been an advocate for respectful parenting for a few years now. I believe that as parents, it is our responsibility to heal our own childhood wounds while parenting our children mindfully and loving them for exactly who they are. Mindful parenting led my family to the home-schooling path.
Image source: todaysparent.com
I felt very emotional at the gathering. I was either in tears, or on the verge of tears almost the whole time that we were there. I really couldn’t put into words the emotions that I was feeling, except to know that they came from a place very deep inside me. I believe that my emotions stemmed from a deep wound of my own, one that told me I am not okay as I am. At this gathering, I felt deep in my soul that I am more than okay exactly how I am. This was a place where I felt accepted for exactly who I am, and my kids were as well. Being surrounded by people who treat their children respectfully and who see their child’s unique gifts no matter what they may look like to others, was overwhelmingly beautiful. I felt so joyful and happy, and very weepy.
I know that the place deep in my soul was feeling loved in a way that we were all meant to be loved and nurtured. I felt so grateful to be blessed with this gift. This is what I strive for in my everyday life with my children. I want them to know that they are perfect exactly how they are.
I wish that I could write the “vision” that I have in my head of these beautiful children running around in pure bliss. They do not have the “hang-ups” that many schooled children have. They are not afraid to be exactly who they were meant to be. To them, it is not an option to be someone they are not. They will not conform to someone else’s idea of who they should be. They have the freedom to discover what they love. They act on instinct, they are internally motivated to do things that they are passionate about. When they get tired of something, they move on.
People that are passionate about their lives are people that are going to help change the world for the better. I thought to myself over and over while at the gathering that I wish I could announce to the whole world how wonderful teaching children at home is for everyone! It is life, it really has nothing to do with school. It is living, being, and experiencing all that is our world. It is being loved just because you are you. It is about being our child’s partner on this journey they are having while discovering their world. It is being a loving presence when they need help navigating.
Teaching them the essentials of money management
So far, I’ve been fortunate in that my son has proved reasonably receptive to my efforts to help him learn about money. He still makes money mistakes, as we all do, but he’s pretty good at correcting them when the consequences are pointed out to him. However, since he likes to read, in addition to playing games, I don’t see anything wrong with presenting him with a little extra reading material about money.
If you are trying to figure out how to help your kids get on the right track when it comes to money, here are some books to consider as you help reinforce lessons that your kids need to learn about money:
Ultimate Kids’ Money Book
Neale S. Godfrey offers this great book about money, aimed at children ages seven and up. The book is full of fun illustrations that help make different aspects of money clearer. The Ultimate Kids’ Money Book even approaches such subjects as investing and credit. The bartering section is fun — I’m actually excited to see what my son will try to trade for…
Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday
One of my favourite books growing up was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This book isn’t as information-packed as the Ultimate book, but Judith Viorst makes a good point that kids can relate to. Alexander starts with a dollar, but somehow these vast riches are quickly frittered away. Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday is a great read for children, and a good way to teach a valuable lesson; your kids may not even fully realise that they are learning something!
If you are having trouble expounding on the concepts of compound interest and investing to your children, Growing Money might be able to help. Suitable for ages eight and up, Gail Karlitz and Debbie Honig offer simple explanations that make sense. Get your kids interested in investing, and maybe learn a few things yourself. A great guide that will help your children understand, at an early age, how important it is to put your money to work for you.
The Everything Kids’ Money Book
Brette McWhorter Sember takes a look at how kids can earn money, save it, and put it to work. This might be suitable for children who are more in the nine-year-old range, especially if they like history. This book presents monetary history, and offers facts and information that even adults can enjoy. The Everything Kids’ Money Book is a great, basic handbook written in a way that is entertaining and accessible to children.
This is kind of a fun idea: A keepsake journal for money. The idea is to start your child out with this money journal. It starts with baby’s birth, and helps parents allocate money to help children achieve financial freedom. And, the keepsake nature of the book encourages children to get interested and learn important concepts as they get older.
A summer job is a great way for kids to learn the value of hard work, as well as get some practical experience with money management.
A summer job offers your children a chance to go beyond allowance and earn their own money. You can use this as a chance to teach them valuable financial skills and help them put into practice such time-honoured money moves as saving, wise spending and even investing.
Charlie Wilkinson, a financial consultant and writer for Simplepayday.co.uk, gave me his tips for giving children a start into making their own pocket money.
Even young children like the idea of making money on their own. My son gets an allowance, but it’s not really doing it for him as an 8-year-old. He has suggested that we start paying him for chores, but that’s not something we’re into. (Whether or not to pay children for household chores is a debate for another day.) In order to earn extra money, he is thinking of things he can do. A classic, of course, is the lemonade and cookie stand.
However, even young children can be paid to run errands and do odd jobs. If there are those in the neighbourhood looking for help clearing and brushing, or getting rid of rocks, this can be a worthwhile opportunity for young kids. There are kids in our neighbourhood who sell iris bulbs from their flower garden each year.
My son also enjoys doing 4-H projects. He receives ribbon money for his displays. This year, he’s looking forward to sewing and model rocketry. And, as a lifetime 4-Her, I have seen kids as young as six or seven showing lambs and other animals — and getting paid for them at auction. (I actually earned ribbon money all the way until I graduated from high school, although I never raised animals.)
There is an age, about 10 – 15, that children begin to really wish that they could earn some fast cash. However, until your child is 16, getting a traditional job flipping burgers, acting as a runner at the local law office or doing any number of other jobs just isn’t going to happen.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t earn money. Some jobs that are available to children that are a little bit older include:
- Lawn care
- Dog walking
- Pet sitting
Siblings in my neighbourhood have a flag service: For a yearly subscription, they will put flags out in front of your home on the appropriate holidays.
It is also possible to sell your old unwanted stuff, online or offline. Kids can go through their old toys, sporting equipment, video games and other items, or have a yard sale to get some cash in their pockets. Try to arrange a neighbourhood yard sale, and all the kids in the neighbourhood can get in on it.
Teaching, learning, loving and giving are all learnt in the home. There is never a better time to teach kids then when they are in the home. This extends to money and how to make money. There needn’t be any age restrictions on learning, so the right time to start is only a question for you.