In this series, I’ll provide timely concepts for your child’s age groups. This blog will go over how to introduce financial concepts for ages 6-9. If your child is older and you feel some of the 3-5 age group topics haven’t been covered, know that it’s never too late to go over the basics. Feel free to backtrack from the beginning no matter how old your child is!
Count and Calculate:
- Engage in counting activities with coins or play money.
- Show them how to count and calculate change when making a purchase.
Take them with you to the grocery store or other stores and involve them in the shopping process. Show them how to compare prices and make informed choices.
Needs vs Wants:
- Teach them the difference between needs (food, clothing, shelter) and wants (toys, treats).
- Encourage them to prioritize needs before wants. There are many children’s books and shows that introduce financial concepts in a child-friendly way. Look for age-appropriate options to reinforce these concepts.
Save, Share, Spend Jars
Use clear jars to create three separate containers labeled “Save,” “Share,” and “Spend.” When they receive money (ie – allowance, gifts), encourage them to save some, share some, and spend some on things they want. How you do this is preferential and a bit subjective at this stage. Keep in mind, I find that children are actually a little too willing to gift away their money despite the amazing intention. That’s because they really don’t need anything at this age that wouldn’t be provided by parents. So focusing on the importance of why you’d save and what to anticipate for personal expenses down the road is quite important because to them it’s otherwise all just monopoly money. And to this point, maybe creating a shorter-term “need” to save up for would be useful (ie – going on vacation? Maybe have them save up $20 as discretionary fun money to spend on souveniers, arcades, whatever).
Don’t be discouraged if your child does not grasp the concept of save, share, spend right away. Consistency is key. And you’ll find that certain learning opportunities naturally present themselves. So when certain situations arise lean into those moments as they’re likely to make a more lasting and practical impression.
What do I mean by “situations arise?” As mentioned above, I find children still treat money a bit loosey-goosey at this age. They’re a bit too willing to hand it out or spend it on acquiring a hundredth stuffie. Providing a goal that requires savings is a way to implement the lessons you’re teaching, even if the goal is ultimately charitable or spending on a desired item. Just make sure the goal is well-defined with a deadline.