April 1, 2021
Engaging your child in everyday financial discussions ensures their future success
Summer is just around the corner and you’re probably already planning activities for your children. Whether you plan on sending them to camp, taking them on a trip, or having them simply hang around the house, it is a great time to have some fun while reinforcing financial skills. If you’re adventurous, you can link their financial lessons with the continuation of their normal schoolwork.
Remember to keep these activities light and a part of any regular family activities you have planned. For example, you plan a trip to the French Quarter and get beignets at Café Du Monde. Multiple financial discussions become available to you here, like:
Give your young child enough money to purchase one beignet order and a small milk. If that’s what they purchase, how much change should they get back? If they want a large milk, will they have enough money? Will they need more? If so, how much? And will they have to do a chore to earn it?
Discuss with your teenager the different types of jobs it takes to run a beignet business. Ask what different jobs they see being done, what it takes to perform each job, and which one they think they’d like to do best. (You’ll learn a lot about your child based on their answer.)
Ask your older teenager what they think goes into running a business like this. Discuss things like rent, payroll, capital expenses, etc. Then ask how many orders of beignets they must have to sell to cover their costs, or (better yet) make a profit.
You can have age-appropriate conversations like these with your kids about any summer activity. The key is to keep it fun and focus on a key topic you want to reinforce with them. If your kid is anything like my grandson, you’ll also need to remember that if they get the idea you’re trying to teach them something, you may get shut down. Don’t press the issue and try it another time.
Other tried and true summer activities to keep finances top of mind with your kids include:
- Setting an allowance routine
- Setting a savings goal for the end of the summer
- Providing opportunities for your child to earn money
- Open a lemonade stand
- Put their clean clothes away
- Walk the family or a neighbor’s pet
- Open a savings account and track the deposits
- Let them shop with you and discuss what things cost
- Analyze how many hours you have to work to earn the money to buy a particular item
- Plan a family event together and discuss the costs
- Donate items you no longer need to help them understand the idea of charitable giving
Keep in mind, too much of a good thing could spoil your kids desire to learn more about money. You better than anyone know how to get – and keep – them motivated. Use your parenting skills, make it fun, and watch them learn about money. And always remember, you’re setting them up for long term success.