Parents often ask themselves when they should start teaching their children about money.
Some will, understandably, wait until their children can start earning to teach them about savings, but research from the University of Cambridge would suggest the earlier the better. In fact, this research reveals that a person’s attitude to money is set at the age of 7.
We can all play a part in raising the next generation of savvy spenders, but what are the benefits of teaching children about money at a young age? And can teaching these skills from early childhood really pay long-term dividends? There are numerous benefits awaiting children who have these discussions at an early age, and we’ve highlighted a handful below.
Money helps the imaginary world go round
According to Beth Kobliner, American money expert and author of ‘Make Your Kid a Money Genius’, children as young as three years old are able to grasp basic financial concepts such as saving and spending.
In other words, every made-up game you play with your child that involves exchanging ‘play’ money for goods – be that in an imaginary bank or living room supermarket – plays a vital role in moulding their young minds and developing savvy spending skills. By helping children understand the all too familiar phrase – “money doesn’t grow on trees” – from a young age, we begin to nurture positive money habits in our children early on in their lives and take the first important step towards raising financially confident young adults.
The best things in life come to those who wait
It would be fair to say that children can occasionally be slightly impatient, which actually presents something of challenge when it comes to teaching them about money. After all, in the modern world of online pop-ups and one click payments it can be easy for them to slip into bad, heavy-spending habits in just a few taps.
This is why it’s so important to hold children accountable for spending from the moment they begin their interaction with money, which can be achieved with fun family involved exercises such as reviewing statements and talking about spending mishaps. Teaching children not to be frivolous with money from a young age will help form ‘money-smart’ adults who will be well-equipped to meet the challenges ahead. After all, you’re never too young to start saving for a house.
Keeping them tethered to reality
Nowadays, children as young as three are owners of their very own iPads and tablets, introducing them very early on in their lives to the world of apps and, by extension, in-app purchases.
Cleverly disguised in-game virtual currencies can fuel our children’s digital addiction and make it increasingly difficult to teach them how to draw the line between the ‘real’ and the ‘virtual’ when it comes to money. With online spending here to stay, establishing an open dialogue around money issues with young children is vitally important, not only to educate them on how to shop safely and responsibly online, but to help them develop a healthy relationship with online spending that – hopefully – will make navigating the financial realities of the adulthood that little bit easier.
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