Back to School: How To Teach Young Children Valuable Financial Lessons
educating-myself | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Bob Juliano | Published: August 2021
Summer is unfortunately winding down, which for students and their parents means it is back to school season.
After a few months out of the classroom – or in some cases a full year with remote learning as a result of the pandemic – it is time to get your children prepared for not only a successful school year, but now is also a great time to start lessons that might not be available in their school: financial literacy lessons.
A study from WSFS Bank of 2,005 Americans between ages 18-40 found that many felt they were not provided with a formal financial education, with parents topping the list of sources for financial lessons at 36%.
So as your children get ready to return to the classroom, here are some tips to help prepare your child for the lessons that await this year, while also providing a facet of financial education that is often not covered in school.
It’s never too early to start teaching children valuable financial lessons. As soon as they’re able to count, you should begin teaching them basic financial principles.
Give your young children a piggy bank and help them count the money they put into it and how much they have saved. Once they’ve saved enough in their piggy bank, bring your child to the bank to open a savings account and deposit that money. Teaching young children to do this consistently is an important step in building life-long savers.
As they mature and understand more about depositing money into their bank account, explain how interest works and how it will help their savings grow over time.
Having them accompany you to the store and figure out how much is needed to purchase a particular item can also help them grasp the concept and value of money at an early age.
These skills are easily transferable to traditional math lessons your children will learn in school and can teach critical thinking as well, helping to give them a head start on the school year ahead.
Among the many lessons learned during the pandemic was the importance of savings. Teaching children the value of saving early can help ensure they’re prepared for various life stages and unforeseen circumstances. Providing these lessons early in life can also give you more chances to reiterate positive financial behaviors and catch any negative habits early.
It’s not all fun and games when it comes to financial education, but for young children free from the financial burdens that come later in life, games can be a great way to instill important lessons.
Playing board games like Monopoly, Pay Day or Life, that incorporate money or counting can be a great way to teach young children about financials and spending habits in a fun manner, and can also provide quality bonding time for your family.
There are plenty of other great ways to “gamify” your child’s financial education in an engaging way, such as role-playing games where they’re running a store or restaurant, or taking on the role of parent by playing “house” to manage a budget.
Online Education Tools
Just 23% of survey respondents said they utilized online or print publications to learn about finances, but as online educational tools become more and more prevalent, it is important to utilize all of the resources available for teaching your children these valuable lessons.
From online games to videos and interactive tools, there are no shortage of resources available to meet the preferred learning style of your children.
Saving and budgeting are lifelong elements of your financial journey. By building a solid foundation for your children at a young age, you’ll set them up for success when it comes to more complicated money matters as they reach their teenage years and mature into adulthood.
About the Author – Robert Juliano
Bob Juliano is Vice President, Director of Corporate Giving & Financial Literacy at WSFS Bank. He is a financial education expert for the Bank and has taught K-12 financial literacy to thousands of children.
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