Money-conscious parents invest considerable time and effort in helping their kids understand the dynamics of money. Schools conduct formal lessons in teaching financial literacy to you as well.
Teaching financial literacy to middle school students is an activity that most educational institutions take very seriously.
In spite of this, most children still grow up to be adults who are unable to budget, spend and save intelligently.
It’s important to understand that money management can become the basis for lifelong success.
Developing a healthy money attitude can reduce stress, encourage self-confidence and help you create far healthier relationships with your family.
Here are 12 simple ways to teach your children financial literacy EARLY:
1. Leverage candy or juice boxes to explain what needs & wants are
You can use different foods such as juice boxes, popcorn or candy to explain to your kids what the difference between needs and wants is.
The latter is required for survival while wants are nice to have but aren’t needed for survival. Ask your children whether they need candy or just want it.
The financial literacy activities for elementary students that schools conduct teach this concept too.
2. Compare the costs and benefits of outings and leisure activities
Encourage your children to make common decisions; ask whether they should head for the park or have a playdate at home.
Explain in detail what the expenses and benefits of each of these alternatives are.
Ask them to create a list of things they can do on the weekend and then explain the pros and cons of that decision with relation to money.
Most schools also conduct financial literacy for kindergarten classes as part of their standard educational activities that include similar examples.
3. Use snacks to explain opportunity costs
It’s important to explain to your kids what opportunity costs are. Essentially, these are the things you give up when you choose a particular alternative.
For example, if there are 5 alternatives – spaghetti, burgers, mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and pizza. When they give up the next best alternative, that cost becomes the opportunity cost.
4. Turn field trips into an opportunity to teach supply and demand concepts
Schools regularly conduct field trips; they can use this setting for teaching financial literacy to students.
Children can be shown prices at the gas stations they drive past and explain why these prices fluctuate regularly.
This becomes a great way to explain concepts of supply and demand.
5. Budgeting tips when you go grocery shopping
Take your children grocery shopping. While walking through the aisles, tell them that you need a particular item; hand them some money and tell them to make a smart buying choice.
If they are old enough to count money, you can also allow them to complete that transaction on their own. Discuss what they did correctly and how they can do better next time based on their decision.
6. Teach your kids how to comparison shop
Schools often conduct financial literacy lesson plans for students, using the comparison shopping concept.
They bring in various ads from stores in the area and tell students they have a certain amount to spend at these different stores and challenge them to get the most value for their money.
You too can use comparison shopping techniques to teach kids to get the most bang for their buck.
7. Make a trip to the bank
While most schools conduct bank trips for their students, you too can teach older kids how to open a bank account and save money.
Financial literacy activities for college students are very different from high school students as they already have a pretty thorough understanding of money management.
College students need to know how to manage money responsibly and leverage credit cards to grow their credit and wealth when they are away at college.
8. Use raffles to teach children the reward-risk concept
Raffle out some small prize like a pencil or a few cookies.
Explain to your children that in order to get a chance of winning, they need to buy a raffle ticket, but that doing so doesn’t guarantee them a prize or reward.
In fact, many online financial literacy games for adults use similar examples to teach the concept of stock market/bonds investments.
While you use these different methods of teaching your children financial literacy early, it’s important that you explain that money is just a tool for living a comfortable life.
They need to understand that it’s a means to an end and not the end goal itself.
In simple words, money cannot be a proxy for love and it doesn’t guarantee happiness.
Make it a point to teach them how recycling, sharing and being conscious of the environment and those around them matters. Doing these things consistently will help them develop a healthier relationship with money.
It will give them the ability to manage their life well rather than just center their life on money.