Kids absorb our habits like a sponge — what we regularly eat, our slip-of-the-tongue expressions, and even how we spend or save money. Each observation is a lesson to be emulated. So it's best that we explain these financial learnings in ways that they can easily understand.
In this article, we compressed money lessons into simple ideas, including kid-friendly explanations for your little ones.
Money is something that you work hard for.
To make kids understand: Teach them that money is earned by working for it. You can do this by giving them tokens for household tasks that they finish.
Spend on what is important.
To make kids understand: When spending money, let kids know that it is essential to prioritize the important expenses. If they are still too young, you can try to make them understand this message by explaining that money is a limited resource, which is why we spend on needs first over luxuries. Give examples like how one must prioritize paying for tuition or electricity over spending for a gadget or a vacation.
Wants and needs are different things.
To make kids understand: Explain to your child that "wants" and "needs" are different from each other. A need is something you must have to survive like food and water, while a want is something nice to have but you can live without, like a new toy. Teaching this to your child will help them understand why people should spend for their needs first.
Sometimes, you have to wait to get what you want.
To make kids understand: Children have to realize that sometimes, they have to wait to get what they want. You can introduce the concept of delayed gratification by giving them a small fund that they can start growing using money they receive on special occasions like birthdays. Make it a visual experience. Use a transparent piggy bank and take photos of it over time so that they can actually see that their money has been increasing. You can also show them a toy listing on a regular day and show it to them again during a Lazada or Shopee sale to show that by waiting, the toy that they want is now more affordable. By spending less on less important items, they can have more money for saving. These experiences can teach them that patience can be rewarding.
Parents need to work to provide for necessities.
To make kids understand: Let children know that parents work hard to provide for the family. For some, it is enough for only one parent to work; while for others, both parents need to work to have enough money to pay for expenses. No matter the set-up, kids need to understand the real world value of hard work.
Only borrow what you can return or pay back.
To make kids understand: Teach kids that it is important to return what they borrowed – whether it’s money or not. Also, let them know that borrowing always requires permission from the owner. If they are finding it difficult to follow, ask them how they would feel if a friend borrows their favorite toy without their permission. This question will likely make them understand the concept of respecting someone else's property. Likewise, let them also know that it is alright for them to say no if they feel uncomfortable in lending something.
Having a sound money mindset is one of the most helpful and relevant life skills that we can pass on to the next generation. The foundation that allows us to pass on these valuable lessons is anchored on being able to set a good example. Actions are always louder than words so it is important to be able to walk the talk, especially when it comes to money. A good way to pique the interest of kids on this topic is to tailor ideas to their age, comprehension level, and relevant experiences. We also have other articles about money management for the entire family in the "Take care of your family" Life Goals section.