Most people learn best by doing an activity and kids are no exception. That is true when it comes to financial practices; we can talk about money all we want but if we can get them to participate in earning, spending and saving practices the knowledge they will build will build their understanding and appreciation. The best way to teach kids about earning money is by letting them make a little of their own—immediately we think of lemonade stands but there are other options available. Big kids could make money from raking leaves, mowing lawns or shoveling snow. Or kids of all ages could offer a modern spin on a lemonade stand by selling cupcakes during a yard sale, dog treats at a nearby park, or I even saw a temporary tattoo stand! By getting to know your kids’ interests and being creative you can make earning money fun for them and in turn providing first hand learning experiences on earning, saving and spending.
You and I both know that they will not likely make a ton of money on this project nor is it going to teach them about long term saving—unless you are a super parent who is willing to help them out with their business every week. An allowance can be used to help your child learn about saving, if used properly. Allow your child to spend it as they see fit BUT you can’t buy them the new Barbie or Dino pack upon request; encourage them to save up their money to purchase it. This will help them to realize that spending this week’s allowance on a snow cone may have seemed like a good idea at the time but it prevented them from being able to save up for something they really wanted.
A great way to help them understand the progress they are making by saving their money is create a savings goal chart. Have them pick out an item they have been pining for, then make a chart on which they can track to see how their savings is building up. It is a fun, visual way to remind them to keep saving and will give them a sense of accomplishment. Perhaps you could offer some big chores for to earn a specific amount… get your weeds pulled and help your child get closer to their goal— it’s a win-win!