Spring is nearly here! In addition to warmer weather, the return of baseball, and gardens blooming, the changing of the seasons will also bring you several opportunities to teach your kids about money. It’s never too early (or late!) to put your kids on the road to lifelong financially savvy decisions, so as you get ready for the end of winter, think about activities you can share with your kids that will teach them about money, as well as give you some fun family time. Here are three examples to get you started.
Spring cleaning will help clear the cobwebs out of the house and your brain after a long winter cooped up inside, and it will give you the time to decide what possessions your family no longer needs. Most American families can stand to do this more than once a year, and even the most change-averse child will be excited to learn that old toys can be converted into cash at a yard sale.
Between advertising, pricing items, making change, and responsibly spending the spoils, a family yard sale is an excellent teachable moment for your children. If they are old enough to remember when the no-longer loved toy was new, it will be good for them to see that possessions do not necessarily keep their value. Watching customers haggling with you over prices will provide your children with a priceless introduction to the power of negotiation. Even learning that yard sales do not do well on rainy days will help children to understand that it’s important to always have a backup plan. Overall, you will clear your house of clutter and teach your children how finances work. It’s a win-win.
It’s a grand tradition for neighborhood teenagers to earn money by doing yard work for others. This spring, why not encourage your tween or teen to canvass the neighbors for lawn-mowing opportunities? This can help your child to understand that savvy pricing of his services, good advertising (even if it’s just word of mouth) and excellent service will translate to more money in his pocket. By giving him control of his own miniature business (provided he is allowed to borrow the family mower), you will give him a basic understanding of the relationship between money and hard work.
For smaller children, there is no more quintessential summer experience than opening a lemonade stand. While this may be no more elaborate than setting up a card table on the sidewalk in front of your house, you can make the entire experience more memorable and educational through planning. Decide where and when you will set up your lemonade stand. For example, if there is a nearby festival or farmer’s market in your neighborhood, choose to put up your stand to take advantage of the foot traffic. (Do make sure that you are allowed to do so ahead of time, however). Include your children in the shopping for the lemons, sugar and ice so that they can help decide on an appropriate price per glass and estimate how much profit you will make. Determine fun and easy ways to advertise (like posters at nearby intersections) so that your kids will see that they can help to bring more customers.
Spring and summer provide you with some unique opportunities to teach your children about money. By making these lessons fun, you’ll help your kids to see that money is something worth learning about.
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!