Take 10 seconds right now and try to remember the exact moment when you first understood what money was, and why it was important to society as a whole.
- What emotions did you feel?
- What possibilities did you create in your mind?
- What attitudes and/or beliefs overcame you at that very instant?
Now, what about after learning money’s purpose in society and after experiencing the markets and investing world each and every day of your life? How has your education and view of money changed over the years since that very first instant where you finally figured out what money was?
Pretty different viewpoints wouldn’t you agree?
Now imagine yourself as a parent (even if you never plan on being one, just work with me here)…and you decide to bring a child into the world.
Knowing the experience that you went through as a child and young adult learning about money, how would you teach your child the important skills and information they must know to set themselves up for success not only financially but with their investments as well?
How would you teach them in a cool way without boring your kids, or even worse, making them hate you?
With our children being the future of America, arming them with the skills and tools to effectively navigate through their future is one of the greatest gifts we could give them as the world continues to grow and evolve through time!
Hopefully these ten suggestions below will aid you in figuring out how to effectively do this to ensure that your current or future children grow up financially prepared to tackle the real world ahead.
1. Educational and Interactive Board Games
There are various games in the marketplace that you can purchase for your children that teach them the life skills needed to be successful in life. Most of them vary in price but there is one thing for sure, these games not only get your child thinking but also do it in a way that doesn’t pin them with the “real world consequences” of their decisions if they make a mistake in the games. Playing in this fashion with family is a great way to collectively teach each other and experience each learning point together. In the game pictured above, Thrive Time is one such game that is a great way to get your kids thinking about the future choices and challenges they will be facing as they grow and mature.
2. The Good Ole Lemonade Stand
Teaching your children by giving them the freedom to open up their own lemonade stand on a sunny Saturday afternoon is a great way to teach your children how to manage their very own business operation, while also possibly managing a couple employees themselves. Teaching them in a way where they have to manage something while focusing on a product and working with people is a great first step to exposing them to the business world.
3. The Brainstorming Money Day
Getting you and your family together either once or twice a month to brainstorm creative ways to make more money is a great way to get your child thinking about money, business and investing. To creatively do this without making your child bored, taking them to the park, or brainstorming over a picnic on a beautiful day. This gets your kids thinking about creating various income streams in the present, but in the future too. By getting your child to think in this fashion, you begin to open up the curiosity within them to search on their own without your help.
4. Reward Monthly Creative Thinking
If there are several kids in your family, a great way to teach and reward them on a monthly basis would be to run a monthly contest amongst them to see who can create the best idea for a business or an investing strategy. Give them the challenge at regular intervals and reward the one with the most compelling idea. Awards could be a free ice cream trip with them and a friend, or really, anything else you and your children would enjoy. By rewarding this way of thinking, and adding the contest element into the mix, you again help them to start thinking about the bigger picture.
5. Include Your Children Into Bill Pay
One of the many things most of us can relate to in our lives growing up is that talking about money and finances seems to be somewhat of a “taboo” topic. Because we tend to avoid talking about money with our parents, the feelings and uncomfortable emotions are carried on into adult hood. One creative way to teach your kids about money is once a month, or once every other month, have them help you pay the bills. Be sure to show them where the bill is coming from, what the statement means and have them help you stuff the envelope and put the stamp on it. You can then take them to the post office, or ask them politely to put the paid bills in the mailbox for the mailman to pick up. By showing your children responsible habits when paying your bills, they are destined to ask you questions. Thus making this simple task we all do once every month truly invaluable.
6. Watch The News With Your Kids
Watching the news or 60 minutes with your children is a great way to be there to help them understand things going on in the economic world of business and investing. By being a good parent and resource for your kids and by making them feel comfortable about always coming to you to speak about current economic events, it gives your child a way to further understand the world in a broader scope and how they fit into it. Depending on what is going on in the news, you can relate the conversation back to money experiences you have had with them in the past, or even some of the activities we outlined here in this post.
7. The Chore List
We all remember a time when we did chores around the house for a weekly allowance. Implementing this creative way to get things done around the house, while compensating your children for their good work is a great way to help your child learn good money habits as they grow and mature. You can create a chore list with a sticker/star system for every one of your children, and at the end of every one or two weeks. you can then pay them what they earned. This is powerful because not only are you making your children more responsible, you are also communicating to them that you are respecting and appreciating their hard work.
8. Give Educational Money Books as Gifts
Giving the gift of knowledge to your children around birthdays, and the many other holidays we all celebrate is a great way to introduce specific education to them without shoving it down their throats. By letting them absorb financial knowledge through time, you are giving the words time to sink in.
9. Share Your Investing Successes
The more you can incorporate your children into your financial and investing life, the more open and receptive they will be to learning about money and investing in the days and years to come. If at the end of the month you got a greater return than you expected on one of your investments, feel free to share with your kids what happened and the positive impact it has on you and your family. You never know what kinds of questions will come up, but any question you can help answer will lead to a greater understanding of money and investing for them.
10. The “What Should I Buy Game”
A great way to have fun and educate them about money when you are at the store is to have them help you make the purchasing decisions for products that you plan to buy for your homes food supply. You can creatively do this when you shop by integrating coupons and also by helping them read the description of each item on the shelf. Ask them, for example, “Johnny, should I buy this item or that one…which one do you think is the better deal?” Having them make real world decisions is a great way to learn. But try not to let your kids have too much freedom of choice or you might end up with a shopping cart full of Doritos!
That just about wraps it up. If you have any other ideas in educating your children, feel free to share your experience in the comments below so everyone benefits from the conversation.
Btw, there's a pretty nifty tool that motivates your kids to do chores. It's called MyJobChart.com. With a free account, they can earn points for finishing jobs you assign them, good towards free merchandise. Give it a try. It's completely free!