I remember the day I turned 16. I got my driver’s license, drove to school all by myself in the largest car ever made, and started my first job to pay for it all. It was a really big day!
In hindsight, having my own money and learning to manage it in high school was one of the smartest things my parents made me do. And the good news is you don’t have to wait until its time for a driver’s license to teach your kids about money. Kids are so smart they can understand a lot at a small age! Give them their first job and watch them learn and practice handling their own money. Better to practice when they are young than practice when they are 18! Where do you start? I’m so glad you asked.
- Give your child age appropriate chores and assign it a monetary value. Kids of all ages can help out. In fact, they love being told they are responsible for something. Most take pride in owning a job. Make your own chart, purchase one, or use online chore charts or apps. Now some of you may say, they need to do chores because they live here. And I couldn’t agree more. We have chores we do because we occupy space in the house! But we do have other chores they get paid for. A kid’s got to earn a living somehow.
- Establish a weekly payday. As with a lot of things with children, consistency is key. Every Friday can be payday. Sit down with them, go over their chart, and count out the money in front of them.
- Help them budget. At our house we have 3 categories. Spend, Save, and Give. After they are paid, they put a portion of their earnings in each of those 3 categories. We help guide them with portions. I have a saver, and 2 spenders. The spenders have been known to sneak money from their save and give categories to put in their spend category. Yet another teachable moment…sigh.
- Let them spend the money they earn. It might only be enough for a candy bar at the store, but when they carry that hard earned money in their pocket or little purse, pick out their item, and pay for it at the counter, all by themselves, the sense of pride they feel is irreplaceable. Now when it’s popcorn day at school, guess who gets to use their hard earned money for that treat?
Need ideas of what you can get your kids doing? We have a list for you here and a print friendly version as well!
Kids need to learn about money. Its a large part of everyone’s lives. 10 years of practice with money will put them 10 steps ahead of most kids who graduate from High School.
And you just might get 10 minutes to kick up your feet while they vacuum the living room.