By Lauren Coulston, Integration Manager, Women & Co.
Teaching my daughter the value of money is an item on my list of parenting worries that keeps me up at night. And today, on National Teach Children to Save Day and with April's designation of National Financial Capability Month (not to mention the eve of her fifth birthday), the topic is certainly top of mind.
When she was younger, I just tried to reinforce the message that money doesn't grow on trees. But now as she gets older, money works its way into the conversation more often. She recently came home from school with the news that her friend lost a first tooth and questions about the tooth fairy and money, unsure how they are linked. There is allowance on the horizon, not to mention the impending inevitable requests for Ugg boots and Juicy sweatshirts.
I realized that my daughter was aware of money at a young age. There was playing pretend store which involved a toy cash register and fake credit cards to purchase household items like sponges and socks. And the road trip to visit friends when she chimed in that the large homes we passed were "expensive" (completely shocking since she was only three at the time!). But really, why shouldn't she be aware of money even if I wasn't making distinctions like rich or poor, expensive or inexpensive? From trips to the ATM, the zoo, the dry cleaner or the grocery store, children see money change hands countless times. Not to mention online shopping -- when she asks where I bought something, frequently my answer is "online" so she thinks goods and services magically appear from the laptop.
My strategy for teaching the value of money while my daughter is still relatively young is using everyday teachable moments. There are so many opportunities to teach children about money in our daily lives. Reading one of her favorite books has the character taking the money she has saved to buy a special bear. Or the annual penny harvest at school when they collect spare change to donate to charity, offering a chance to teach about philanthropy. Even seeing Mom and Dad head off to work in the morning leads to a discussion of working to make money so we can buy things we need like groceries, as well as save up for special things like vacations.
Luckily, Women & Co. has some great tools to help me get going -- tips for teaching kids good financial habits and teaching kids about saving money. I'm hoping that by doing my homework and being diligent about using everyday teachable moments, I can move teaching my daughter the value of money back down towards the bottom of my list of parenting worries!
How are you teaching your children the value of money?
About the Author:
As Integration Manager, Lauren manages Women & Co.'s strategic partnerships to syndicate content and build integrated programs on websites frequented by women. Lauren brings over 15 years of financial services experience and a passion for helping women feel financially empowered. Lauren holds a B.S. in Finance from Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business. In addition to her role at Women & Co., Lauren is Events Chair of the Citi Working Parents Network NYC and serves on the Citi International Women's Day Steering Committee.