Financial Education Fun for All the Family
For many years Rob Gardner, financial education campaigner has dedicated a lot of time to helping young children understand about money so that they know how to earn it, how to keep it and, crucially, how to grow it, in order to have a more financially stable future.
A study has shown that kids learn their money-saving habits by the age of seven – a scary truth when financial education isn’t in the national curriculum – and so it falls on the adults around our children to teach these money skills at an early age. The issue with this is that many adults – parents, teachers, grandparents, carers etc. – probably had quite a dry learning experience around money themselves.
Possibly some may still find financial concepts challenging or intimidating, and so coupled with the British mentality of finding the topic of money a taboo altogether, critical conversations about finance are often avoided or passed over in favour of easier topics.
Over the years Rob has learned the remedy for this, and here shares some easy things you can do that will kick start conversations about money and set children up with some good habits.
Start a family question time
The simplest idea of all is to have a weekly ‘Money Matters Moment’ where together as a family you decide a question about money you’d like to know the answer to and seek to answer it together.
If could be from ‘where does mum/dad get their money from’, to ‘what is the difference between a debit card and credit card’.
Just starting a conversation about money is the first step to making it less of a taboo and something we’re all comfortable talking and learning more about.
One thing that Covid_19 has taught us is that we just can’t predict the future or know what’s around the corner and so now, more than ever, we need to teach our young people the importance of understanding money and making sure they have some ‘acorns’ for a rainy day.
Make ‘saving your acorns’ part of your everyday
Dealing with money is an everyday occurrence as adults, and so the earlier we can bring the topic and practice into our children’s everyday life, the more confident they will become.
The most important financial skills to start with are budgeting and delayed gratification.
Getting children used to making small choices that will affect their present and their tomorrow, no matter how trivial, teaches a vital life skill that can be applied to their finances as they grow older.
Give your child some tokens (we’ve cut out pictures of acorns at home, but buttons also work well) at the start of the week that they can ‘spend’ throughout the week on things they like to do.
Decide together what things are on the menu, and how much they ‘cost’ – i.e. watching Peppa Pig is one token, eating a sweet treat is three, for example.
Doing this together is important so they feel in control and empowered.
Then set up a ‘bank’, a glass jar works well.
At first your child will overspend and run out of tokens early on in the week.
This is fine, and feeling this disappointment is all part of the process: Only by running out of tokens will they realise they need to think ahead, i.e. “If I spend now, I might not have enough for tomorrow”.
This is the key for budgeting and soon they will learn the valuable lesson about delayed gratification, – thinking about what they want and when, and how to make those tokens last all week.
Finally. Make it fun
This is really the best way to teach and learn almost anything.
There are lots of resources out there, from my children’s book Save Your Acorns, and the card game I created called Silly Monkeys that both teach important financial concepts to young kids, to Money Matters Funsize.
This game, and many others, can be downloaded here
These are games and lesson plans that have helped teachers in the UK teach thousands of pupils aged 8+ about risk and reward, budgeting and the concept of something seeming too good to be true.