Teaching Kids About Money: An Age-by-Age Guide (3-18)

Give your child the advantage of understanding money by teaching them money-related concepts throughout their life

Money makes the world go ’round – or so they say. Despite how you feel about it, money is a crucial part of our existence and there is nothing worse than entering adulthood with no clue as to how to properly handle.

Give your child the advantage of understanding money by teaching them money-related concepts throughout their life:

Ages 3-5

Around this age, you can being teaching your child the value and name of each currency. There are some fun activities you can set up to help your little one distinguish between different types of coins:

  • Play Money Bingo
    Print out bingo cards that have coins instead of numbers. Hold up a coin and have your child match and identify it as they place a marker on their card.

  • Coin Sorting
    Set up different jars with pictures of each coin on the front. Give your little a pile of coins to sort into the jars.

  • Money Dominoes
    In Money Dominoes, each “domino” has a numeric money value on one side and a coin on the other (neither matching). The point of the game is to match the ends of cards together until no more matches can be made.

You can also begin to identify the concept that money can be exchanged for goods or objects. While out shopping, explain to your child how you are giving the cashier money in order to buy groceries or other items. Try to use cash whenever possible but still explain this concept if you are using a debit or credit card.

Ages 5-9

By this age your child is beginning to understand the idea of responsibility by taking care of their own toys or having a few simple chores to perform around the house. You can begin monetizing their efforts by offering an allowance.

Chores appropriate for this age include:

  • Taking out the trash.

  • Sweeping and mopping floors.

  • Cleaning the dishes.

  • Washing, drying, folding and putting away laundry.

Try to only monetize tasks that benefit the entire household beyond the responsibility of their own possessions and space. For example, making their bed or putting their clothes in the hamper should not be payable chores.

During this age period, begin explaining to your child what a bank account is and how it works. If you do online banking, show them your account and how you use a debit card to pay for things from it.

Ages 9-13

Open a savings account for your child and encourage them to place part of their allowance in it. You can even match what they contribute to make the savings grow. Do not give them a debit card for this account or access to the money. It is simply there to demonstrate the importance of savings and the excitement of watching that savings grow.

Ages 13-15

Whereas you likely gave your child allowance to use on frivolous treats and goodies, expand the allowance and have your child allocate it to things they don’t necessarily need like eating out of buying desired articles of clothing.

This is a great age for your child to get a part-time or summer job. Even a couple of hours a week is enough to instill the value of working and earning. Set them up with online banking so they can see how much they are earning and keep track of their money.

Ages 15-18+

If your child has been working or collecting an allowance, now is the time to set them up with a chequing account and provide them a debit card. Because they will now have access to their money, budgeting is very important. Have them write down their income and expenditures.

Children with cell phones should begin contributing to the bill, especially if they want additional features such as more data or daytime minutes. Be sure they work this into their budget.

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