I don’t know about you, but as a mother I am always searching for fun ways to teach my children about money and spending. Developing good money habits at a young age can help your child for life. Children don’t get taught about money in school. In our area they don’t even get taught cursive anymore.
It’s up to us as parents to make sure our children have a solid foundation about money so that when they venture out into the world of temptation and are granted access to credit, they don’t find themselves blowing it and living with massive regret and debt.
I have 2 children who are 13 months apart in age, and when they were around 6 & 7 years old I wanted a fun way to start teaching them about money. I started researching but I couldn’t find anything I really liked.
Sure we bought a few games but I wanted something that would get them thinking about spending on a regular basis. Something that would make them examine their choices. I also wanted something that would encourage good behavior. I once read you need to find your child’s currency and negotiate it. That allows you to have leverage.
I decide to come up with a system that could do all of that and my kids absolutely LOVED it! We used this system until about age 10 or 11, when we introduced a real money allowance.
Would you like to know about the system I came up with?
Before you start, you will need to go buy jumbo money. You can find some on amazon with the link below.
If you're Canadian like me and can't buy jumbo money on Amazon, try your local dollar store. That's where I found mine.
How It Works:
- Sit down with your children and have a conversation with them about how money works and about how they are old enough now to help do things around the house.
- Discuss with them what chores they feel they can do and what chores you feel they can do.
- Next discuss what kind of rewards they would like. What are some of their favorite treats or smaller toys(bouncy balls, paper planes or other things you could find at a dollar store)? You also want to talk about big items like going to the movies, trampoline park other things they would love to do.We also had some fun rewards like:
– Pick homemade meal for dinner (must give 48 hours notice)
– Get out of homework tonight (must not be used if a test is the next day)
– Stay up 30 minutes past bedtimeHave fun with it and get creative.By this time your kids will be so excited because they have made their dream lists and that's when you bring out the big stuff.
- Show them the jumbo money and, after they calm back down, explain to them that you will be making a chore list and if they do their chores for the week they will get x amount of money (you decide).
- Create a list of all the rewards and write next to them how much each reward costs. The bigger the reward the more money it costs. For my kids if there was a big reward I made sure they would need to save 3 or more months of allowance before they could earn it.
If you want a nice printable for your chores and rewards lists, we created a free one you can grab below.
The Twist: Anytime they are not behaving properly they will get a warning and if they don’t correct their behavior, they get fined (you determine the amount based on what they have done).
This was really powerful for my children because they quickly loved getting money, counting money, and they were always looking at the rewards chart. Every time my kids wanted to buy something, we had a discussion about it. Did they really want it or did they want to save for something more?
I must also mention that if the kids did something really nice around the house, or went above and beyond, I would sometimes reward them with a little extra money.
Since the jumbo money is large we also made a craft project and created a pouch that would hold the jumbo money.
For the small dollar-store-type reward items, I got a shoe box and made sure it always had stuff in it and we had that listed as the store box and anything in that box was x amount of money.
My children really loved this and now that they are a little older receiving real money, they have transferred over the thought process of assessing if they really need something or would they rather save or wait for something else.
This is a fun way to start laying the foundation of good money habits and it’s a great reward system because the kids help design it.
Make sure to share with us how much fun this is for your family!