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Teaching Money Management Through Play

Financial education is coming into the school curriculum from September 2014, but many children will have missed out on learning about how to deal with money. Even if your child is in line to receive this new education, there’s also a lot you could be doing at home to help them grasp the basics of money management.

Teaching through play is a great way to get your children to engage with a theme, whatever their age. If you add these things into their normal play routine, then they may not even notice that they’re being taught a lesson!

‘Playing shop’ is one good way to teach young children about pounds, pence and change. It can also be a good way to give them an idea about what things actually cost. When you take them to the real shops, you can engage them by asking them how much things cost and getting them to pick the right money out for you (assuming you’re paying with cash). Adding fake money into their toy box will encourage them to understand cash, and you can help them to work out which pieces are worth the most.

Board games can be a great way to have fun as a family while also teaching your children about different financial issues. Games such as Payday or Monopoly can get them thinking about planning ahead with their money and making important decisions that are going to affect their ‘bank balance’. Payday is particularly good for introducing children and teens to planning their finances over a whole month, for paying bills and for basic maths skills. Monopoly can be long but Junior Monopoly is a shorter and easier version. If you have more than one child, you could get them to take turns in being the ‘banker’, so that they each get a go at dishing out the correct amounts of cash…and practising honesty when they have all that money at their fingertips!

One fun way of teaching youngsters about money management is to involve them in the family finances (this may be best to do when they’re a little older) and setting them a challenge. Making a game out of something like this not only gives them an incentive but also makes it fun. The control will be in their hands, so they’ll feel respected too. Teach your kids to shop around for the best deals by asking them to take charge of comparing prices for household items. Perhaps give them a cupboard each and challenge them to find the cheapest alternatives online. This will teach them about price in relation to weight and the cost effectiveness of shopping in one place.

Lastly, allowing them some pocket money but giving them incentives (like interest) if they save it up rather than spending it all straight away is a good way to teach your children about delayed gratification. Getting them to save up for some of the things they really want is a great way to build character and a good savings habit.

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