Quick Money Lessons for Kids

Dear friend,

Your little kids are cute, adorable, loving and they trust you to the last drop. What is your pay back to them? What about some five quick money lessons for them from you? Trust me they will love it.
Are you just wondering what I mean money lessons for kids? Okay, you are single and childless? What about your cousins, nephews, nieces, brothers and sisters? See. You have kids in your life.

Since they will not learn any money lessons in school, not even Sunday school or the madrassa session. You went to college? Were there money lessons there? In your first job when you received your first pay cheque did you get any lessons, tips or even a users’ manual. Now you agree you are the only chance for them. In an age appropriate money consider how to deliver these 5 lessons.

 Good old story telling
Yes, I have a good opening line —- let me tell you a story —- here you go. Tell them how people traded by exchanging goods before a bright guy came up with the concept of money. Dramatize barter trade. Let them know the progression from barter trade to cowrie shells, coins, bank notes, plastic money and now virtual money. Show them any of these especially the old ones. Promise a trip to the museum to hold their attention. Uncle Google is very helpful in these lessons and pictures. Is that a deal? Go for it.

Make it tactile
Don’t just share pictures of money with your kids and explain the various denominations; show them the money, the coins, the bank notes, your plastic cards and even bonga points balance. Get out a variety of coins and bank notes, then spend some time looking closely at the elements on each piece of currency. Every symbol and marking has a special meaning, so help them understand each one. Let them identify the hidden watermarks. Show them the different colours, feeling, images and features. Let them make a tracing or paper rubbing of coins, or even design their own currency. Kids love practical games.

Involve them in daily financial activities
You don’t have to hand over your wallet to teach kids about money, but you absolutely should talk them through basic everyday transactions and purchases. This way, you can help make money a tangible item rather than an abstract concept. Let them watch you write a cheque. Talk them through how to use an ATM. Coach them on proper credit card use at a point-of-sale if you use one. Every moment in which you’re spending money, making a shopping list or making plans to save for a purchase is a teachable moment. Children are great accountability partners. They will innocently keep you on track.

Gamify their spending and saving skills
“Because saving is good for you” is not the argument you make to a 10-year-old sitting on a Kshs1, 000 note birthday gift from grandma. That money is as good as gone if you don’t find a way to deposit the said birthday gift in the piggy bank. Let us try some fun games with them.

Kids are more likely to build and stick with a good habit if they practice it frequently. So make it fun by awarding points or offering some other incentive for saving money. For example, you could match every 10/= put into the piggy bank or savings account by matching the amount. Or your “game” could be as simple as awarding a certain amount saved with a small treat or activity. Dramatize putting the money in the piggy bank. Make it a regular family activity. Let them know where the piggy bank is always. Thy shall not empty it in their absence. Let us empty it together when agreed to buy something beneficial to the child and chosen by the child. With your guidance of cause. If you want to up your gamification game, try fun savings apps like iAllowance, PiggyBot or Bankaroo from the internet.

Encourage entrepreneurship
Shillings sound differently when you’ve actually earned them. Encourage your child to follow their entrepreneurial spirit to help them value what goes into their savings account. Give them simple age appropriate chores at home and if well done pay them the agreed amount.

And if I can say one last thing, it’s this: You cannot give what you do not have. We do not draw water from a dry well. Equip yourself with the knowledge to give them. Explore the offerings by the Personal Finance Academy (www.pfa.co.ke) starting with listening to the testimonies of parents who we have ably equipped.

Let us meet at the front yard to share more Wallet Words next week

Wahome Ngari