When exactly is the right age to start teaching children about money? My opinion is that it’s really never too early to start! In fact, the earlier you can start to talk to kids about money, the more those lessons will stick with them as they grow up. Here are some great tips to help kids as young as three or four start to understand the importance of money:

savings pig

Piggy Banks:
Special containers where children can keep birthday or holiday money are a fun way to watch their savings grow! You can buy an actual piggy bank, or get creative by using a clean coffee can or Mason jar and decorate it with stickers, construction paper and crayons or markers!

  • Use the piggy bank to start a smart savings habit: Teach your child to put 50 - 75% of the money they receive into the piggy bank and let them spend the rest. They’ll have the satisfaction of purchasing something for themselves and they’ll see how their savings adds up over time!

Coins and Counting Change:
Kids begin to learn about coins and money as young as preschool and kindergarten. You can help reinforce their schoolwork with some great activities at home or on the go:

  • Group quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies and count how much change there is
  • Ask your child which groups of coins can equal one coin (i.e. what coin equals 5 pennies?)
  • Pay with cash at the store and ask your child how much change you should get back from the cashier or what types of coins would make up the amount of change needed

Take the Time to Explain Everyday Transactions:
Children watch us use money every day while grocery shopping, buying gas, having dinner at a restaurant or taking cash out of an ATM.

Have you ever asked a child where he or she thinks the money in an ATM comes from? You’d be surprised with the answer: most young kids think that the ATM just hands out money as long as you have a card and punch in a few numbers! Take a minute to explain to your child that the money has to be available in your account when you use an ATM: if you don’t have any money, the ATM can’t give you any cash. Explain that the same is true for making purchases with a debit card too!

Teaching young children some of these simple habits builds a foundation for smarter money handling as they grow older. Stay tuned for my next blog post to learn about tips for teaching teenagers healthy money habits.

Yvette Temple

AVP, Customer Solutions Manager