Believe it or not, we’re all just a few months away from wrapping up another school year with our children. Or maybe you’re in the process of getting your little one enrolled to start school for the first time. You may not be thinking about it yet, but saving for college is something that can be started now. You can also start developing the all-important financial literally skills in your child, even when they’re just starting on their education journey!
As parents, we are our children’s first teachers. But teaching children about money when they’re very young may not be at the front of your mind. However, it’s important to build an understanding of money concepts with our children, and it’s never too early to start!
Future Scholar is all about helping families plan for their child’s education and future, so we at Columbia Mom have partnered with them to share some great tips to help families encourage financial literacy and good saving habits in children, even if they’re still very young!
Here are five ways to help your child learn some important money basics.
Identify Items That Cost Money
One of the first steps to start teaching children about money is to help them understand which items cost money. Whether it’s the groceries, their clothes, or their toys and treats, you can start making the connection to daily wants and needs and the money it takes to buy these things.
Make a List of Wants and Needs
One of my favorite school activities my youngest daughter has done lately was a project about wants and needs. She was given a budget and got to make a list of items she wants, and those she needs. Then she had to decide what did and didn’t fit into that budget, and make a plan for how she would save up for the items that didn’t fit into the budget right away. You can do something similar at home, and it can be a lot of fun for your child to brainstorm how to save up for the things he or she needs and wants. It was also a great lesson in prioritizing the ways my daughter spends her money.
Help Them Earn
It’s important to help children learn that earning money for their needs and wants comes from work. Getting your little ones involved in household chores to earn rewards is a great way to build good habits, get some help around the house, and raise awesome helpers! Rewarding them for their work, whether it’s through an allowance, little prizes, or some extra time playing and gaming, connecting rewards with work is a great connection to make while your children are growing.
Encourage Them to Save
Tie all of these other ideas together by encouraging your children to save what they’ve earned. You can do this in a number of ways, whether you suggest they save up some of the cash they may get as a gift rather than spend it all, or show them how you save for the things you want and need, it’s a great habit to start early.
Read All About It
Add some great books to your reading time with the little ones. Future Scholar has put together a great list of books by age group that I encourage you to check out!
Want more ideas? Check out this great list that Future Scholar put together for parents, all to help you build financial literacy with your child.
Saving Information for Parents (we didn’t forget about you!)
April is Financial Literacy Month, so it’s a great time for the whole family to learn more about money and saving concepts. It’s never too early to start saving for our children’s education, and Future Scholar is the best way for South Carolina families to do it. My family has been saving with Future Scholar for years now. One of the things I have appreciated most is that they make it easy to get started, and easy for you (and even your family and friends) to contribute to a 529 college savings plan. The plans even have tax advantages, making it even more beneficial for South Carolina families to start a plan.