Financial Education For Preschoolers
What you will find in this article:
Why should financial education start in preschool?
There is this rule of thumb which says that financial education for kids should start when they are old enough to understand that money doesn't grow on trees. Of course, if you choose to start talking about money at such an early age, the lessons will not be too complicated. You should keep it light and entertaining.
You must be really careful though! At this age, every kid is like a sponge that absorbs and imitates your every action. This is why you should be a positive example.
Several studies have shown that parents are the main influence on children's financial behavior. Studies have also shown that the behaviors that kids develop until the age of 7, will last their whole lives.
What financial education lessons should preschoolers learn?
As I said: At this age you do not want to fill the little ones' heads with too much information, but you want to keep the lessons as practical and simple as possible. That's why it's enough if you will teach children:
- What is money?
- What is money used for
- How can they earn money
- Three things that can be done with money - Spend, Save and Give.
Keep reading if you want to know how to approach each of these lessons so the kids can understand them and put them into practice throughout their adult lives.
What is money?
Because you want to keep the explanations simple, it is enough if, at this age, you tell the little ones that:
Money is a medium of exchange used to pay for goods, services and also to measure their value.
As an exercise, help your kids get familiar with the currency in your country. Explain the differences between coins and bills and associate them with products they know, such as pieces of candy or chocolate bars.
Another practical exercise you can do together is called "Homemade Money" and this is when kids let their imagination go wild and they start creating their own types of bills and coins.
What do we use money for?
After you have explained to the kids what money is, inevitably you will also be asked:
What do we use money for?
Money is exchanged for goods and services, and can also measure their value.
All you need to do to help them understand what money is used for is to engage them in the family's financial decisions. Take them shopping and always ask for their opinion when you have to choose a product.
Also, to better understand the exchange between money and objects or services, talk to your kids about bartering - how people, in ancient times, used to trade different objects to get whatever they needed.
How do we earn money?
If each good or service has its value in money, then we can tell the little ones that:
You can earn money by exchanging goods or services for it.
And to better understand this, tell them about your job. It's good to refer to an example they know.
Here's another exercise you can try: offer the kids their own recurring income. Be very careful, though, to make them understand why they get that money for and not just take it for granted.
The Lemonade Stand is another great way to practice these lessons. In Investory, the financial education video game, kids can experience the lemonade stand from the comfort of the living room couch.
Spend, Save, Give - Three Things Preschoolers Can do With Money
You, as an adult, know what you can do with the money - you know that you can spend it, you can put it aside, you can invest it, every investment can bring gains, interest and so on. Obviously, for a 3-year-old, these financial mechanisms are quite complex.
This is why, for preschoolers we have to tone down the information. At this age, it is enough for them to know that with the money they get, they can:
- Spend it
- Save it
- Donate them
Try to observe the natural behavior of the kids, what they tend to do when not told what to do with the money. If you notice that they tend to spend too much or to give away to much, you will know what to focus on on future lessons.
If you want the kids to better understand these lessons, try to do an activity together, where once a month you gather and decide what to throw away, what to keep and what to donate, be it clothes or old toys.
After reading this article, you need to keep the following in mind:
- It is good to start children's financial education as early as possible, and the age of 3 is perfect for that.
- Because you are still dealing with 3-year-olds, keep the lessons as simple as possible.
- It is enough for kids at this age to know what money is, what it is used for, and how they can get it.
- When it comes to the things you can do with your money, limit yourself, for now, to three - spent, saved and donated.
If you want to put these new financial lessons into practice, along with many other important ones, download Investory for free - a financial education video game for kids, available both on mobile phones and tablets.