It is important to start teaching children about money as early as you can. Some people say as young as three years old. One thing to remember is that, as with other things, children watch and learn from what you do. There are easy ways to teach kids about finances without having to spend a lot of extra time and effort.
When you are at the bank, explain what you are doing when making deposits, getting cash, etc. Explain that you need money in the bank to write checks and use your debit card. Many times kids (and some adults) think that as long as you have check blanks or your “handy” debit card you can keep spending.
Last night I was talking to some Boy Scouts about money and asked, “What are some things you can do when you want to buy something you cannot afford right now”? I was looking for saving up for it. One of the first boys to answer said, “Use a credit card.” Then I cautioned them about the dangers of using credit cards and that you have to pay interest when you either use a credit card and don’t pay it off or borrow money some other way.
In the book Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees by Neale Godfrey, the author tells of a friend who took his young sons across the country to see their grandparents. After each stop to eat, one of the younger boys was always straggling behind the others. Finally, when they were almost home, the father asked why he was always late. The boy replied that he was picking up the money his father kept forgetting at the restaurants. He had been picking up the tips each time. But to a young child, without explanation, it may seem to them that his father was forgetting his money behind.
So with a few small steps and reminders, you can help your children to manage money better.