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Using real-life situations to teach kids about money

March 18, 2013

How do we get children to learn without them knowing they are actually learning? Walter the Vault encourages children to become Money Masters by turning real-life situations into financial problems to solve. Next time while running errands with the kids, have them assist with the finances and paying. The goal is for children to then apply these lessons learned to their everyday lives.

Supermarkets. Supermarkets are a great place to teach children about saving and spending money. Compare sale items with regular-priced items on the store shelves. Observe what your child notices about the prices. On another trip to the market, build on the previous experience by introducing coupons. Let the child be in charge of holding the coupons, enabling them to match the item on the coupon for the purpose of paying a discounted price.

The self-checkout line at the register can add to a child’s learning experience. The process of scanning the items, placing them into bags, watching the list of items appear on the screen, and finally placing the coupons and money into the machine all tie together the previous actions of selecting the items to purchase throughout the store.

More generally, have the child hand over the cash when purchasing items in a store or paying the restaurant bill. Let them count the change and assist with paying the tip. Offer an incentive to a child that wants a snack, such as requiring him or her to first count the change necessary to purchase the item.

Banks. When at the bank, show the child what deposit slips are. Have them help fill out the paperwork or one on their own for fun. Begin introducing them to the function of the ATM.

Board games. Even at home children can learn about money-saving tips. These days, most children are glued to the television playing video games. Change the pace by occasionally encouraging them to play a game of LIFE or Monopoly. Playing the role of the banker enables a child to count money out and apply arithmetic.

These are just a few of countless situations one can teach children about money and saving in everyday life. Get children involved in typical and financial-related situations throughout   the day.  Introduce children to money and finance concepts early on.

Any other suggestions on how to teach children about finances? Next time Walter the Vault will discuss the importance for a child to distinguish between needs and wants while shopping.

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