Kids learn a lot through observation, so it’s likely that a lot of what they have learnt about money relates to machines and plastic cards.
It’s easy for your children to think that an endless supply of money is spat out of a machine in the wall. Or if you use EFTPOS, they could believe that a rectangular piece of plastic, your phone, or your watch, is all you need to flash at the supermarket to get the groceries.
Below are some tips for teaching your children how to understand and manage money in an ever changing technological world.
Show them the money!
It’s possible that your children hardly see notes and coins at all, as for most of us the days of bringing home a pay packet with a wad of notes inside is long gone. With a continuing reduction in the number of bank branches and the increase in electronic and online transactions and money management, cash is becoming less common. However, it’s still important that children understand how actual cash works as this will help them understand the concept of electronic money.
Get a supply of notes and coins and show your children them. Have a look at what pictures are on the coins and the notes, and examine the different sizes of notes and coins, the varying colours of the notes and also different coin edges and explain how this makes using cash easier for everyone including the vision-impaired.
You can use the different attributes of coins (colour, size, shape and weight) to help them learn that every coin is worth a different amount of money.
Teaching your kids the value of money
Now it’s time to teach them the value of each coin – you have probably already touched on this when you were discovering the different coins and notes.
Use coins to play a counting game with kids. For example, show them how many 10-cent pieces make up one 50-cent piece. There are lots of different combinations to try plus you get to do some maths practice at the same time!
Show your kids how money works
The next step is for your children to see money in action. Pay with cash at the supermarket or vending machine so children can see the money being counted. Use cash to pay for school activities and encourage your children to help count out what is needed. Let them go to the local dairy to get the milk, or buy some lollies, and give them cash to pay for it. When they get home you can work out how much was spent and check the change that was given.
At home you can play “shop” with your kids . Use items from the pantry, price them up and then take turns at being the purchaser. To make it even more fun, you could create your own coins by putting a coin under a piece of paper and rub a crayon over the top, then cut out the imprint.
Board games such as Monopoly and The Game of Life are a great way for them to use play money.
Their own money
Once your children have an understanding of cash, it’s time to give them some of their own money to manage. Pocket money is a great way for them to learn for themselves about how money works – you can find some top tips on introducing pocket money here.