January 1, 2021

Their first Piggy Bank 

There is a connection between the financial concepts you teach your kids in early childhood and their ability to manage money throughout their lives. This concept is called “emergent literacy” and is most closely aligned with “paradigm” in the business sense. The gist is that our belief systems are based on past events that have shaped us.  

Educationally, think of this as an “add on” process. What our parents teach us has an impact on what we learn in kindergarten, and then what we learn in kindergarten has an impact on what we learn in first grade, and so on, and so on. You get the idea. 

When to Start Teaching Financial Concepts 

There are any number of ways you can connect everyday events to a learning opportunity about money and start teaching your child as early as possible. 

  • Does your preschooler have a piggy bank?
  • Do they play store?
  • Do you help them with counting?
  • Do you discuss giving items to the less fortunate?

If you do any of these things, then you are ensuring your preschooler understands the basics of money management.  

Read Books About Money 

Reading age-appropriate financial books will introduce your kids to key financial concepts. I recommend: 

  • Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jackson  
  • The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money by Stan and Jan Berenstain  
  • Just Saving My Money by Mercer Mayer  
  • One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent: All About Money by Bonnie Worth 
  • The Go-Around Dollar by Barbara Johnston Adams  

Watch Videos About Money 

Among the countless YouTube videos teaching kids about money, these will also help them get in a little exercise: 

Make Money Lessons Fun 

Kids can learn a lot by playing games. Go old school with board games, or technical with apps. The ultimate goal is developing your child’s understanding of key financial concepts. 

Games 

  • Exact Change 
  • Counting Money Puzzles 
  • Cash Flow for Kids 

Apps 

  • Amazing Coin 
  • iAllowance 
  • Save! The Game 

Open a Savings Account 

It may sound old fashioned to go into a bank to open an account (instead of online). But your child must understand banking basics in order to master the technology behind their account. 

What your child will learn through social interaction with their bank: 

  • Interpersonal skills – Let them talk with the banker about why they’re opening the account and what they plan to do with their money. 
  • Counting Money – Have them deposit cash and teach them how to count that money. Currency will help them understand that money is real, not simply an electronic concept. It also will help their counting skills.  
  • Managing Money – Get a checkbook register and teach them to write their deposits, withdrawals, and balance after every transaction. 
  • Goal Setting – If your child does not have a specific goal in mind, then start by saving a percentage of the money they receive as gifts. 

Of course, you must decide the right time to start teaching your child about money.  Now that my grandson is in kindergarten, he’s much more interested in numbers and we talk about them every time we’re together. I always use those times to tie the conversations back to money, saving, and making good choices. Who knows, maybe he’ll do the same thing with his grandkids and let them know a little about me! 


Robert Baer is a Vice President at Fidelity Bank. He coordinates Fidelity’s Financial Literacy initiative.

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