How to talk to your kids about the value of money

Girl and father putting coin into piggy bank, sitting on sofa at home

The relationship with money is one of the most important relationships your child will have so make sure you help them lay healthy foundations for it.

So although as parents we may not realise but learning about money is one of the most critical roles we will play in our children’s lives because guess what, schools teach kids everything yet don’t teach them about money. “Kids today think that credit or debit cards are magic,” says financial journalist and author Beth Kobliner. “You get to the store, you swipe, and you magically get things.”

“I remember seeing my parents sitting around the kitchen table writing checks, or we saw them running to the bank. My mom would bring us to the grocery store on triple coupon day, so we’d see these things firsthand. These were all experiences that stuck with me and taught me, from an early age, about money.”

But Before you can teach them about money as a parent you need to be aware of the fact that children learn other skills by watching their parents, they also learn about money by watching us interact with money. So even start talking to your little ones about money, be intentional about what money actions they see you doing so you can start laying the necessary foundations for them to have a healthy relationship with it.

These great tips will definitely help you teach your kids about money:

Involve them in your interactions with money 

Kobliner says, “Today, we shop and pay our bills mostly online, so it’s important to seize on day-to-day moments for learning, like taking your kids to the grocery store or paying bills at home. Explain what you’re doing. Even if you feel your child may not completely get it—or even if you don’t completely understand the matter at hand yourself—just involving kids in these basic money conversations and situations can have a positive impact.”

Give them money responsibility

Determine certain tasks that you child will do and give them a monthly allowance for them. The actual amount that you give does not matter, as the key thing is for them to have money that is theirs and which they are responsible for at an early age. This will assist them to learn and understand the value of a rand.

Teach them while they’re young

From the age of five years, old children are able to understand the concept of money and rands. Use the interest they make take in the coins in your wallet and use it as a bridge to start talking to them about money.

Make money habits visual

While you cant jump to concepts like investing while they are very young, you can introduce the idea of accumulating money by getting them a piggy bank where they can ‘save’ their coins.

Strengthen their delayed gratification muscle

The ability to want something and be able to wait for it, is one of the powerful skills that you can teach your kids. “We wait for our birthday, and we wait for the holidays, so we also need to learn to wait and save for what we want. Pointing out that we have to wait is a great way to segue into something bigger: saving and focusing on trade-offs. For instance, one lesson might be: “If I skip buying a snack after school and get one out of the fridge instead, I can save that money and put it toward the Lego set I want”, explains Kobliner.

Resist the urge to talk negatively about money

When you’re stressed about paying for things the household or things that they might need, avoid being obviously anxious or speaking negatively about the situation. This may lay foundations for them to have a negative or anxious relationship with money. Rather focus on the importance of what you are trying to be able to pay for, like the school fees must be paid so that he or she can learn and grow to their full potential.

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