Money management is an important life skill - and it’s never too early to start teaching your children about it.
There are many ways you can help to improve children of any age’s understanding of finances, such as counting and encouraging patience with spending. And with schools currently closed for many, now is a good time to add money to the at-home curriculum.
In this guide, we’ll run through five methods you can use to help your children understand more about money. Due to current hygiene guidelines, we haven’t included methods that involve handling cash.
Although some online resources are only free temporarily while lockdown remains in place, others are available for free whenever you need them, including Topmarks.
Topmarks has lots of different resources to help children learn about counting money, adding up prices and general maths. You can filter by age group to make sure the resource is suitable and most are compatible with some tablets and mobile phones.
With many activities focused on coins, this website is a great way to teach children about their different values without the need to physically handle money.
In a digital world, children are more likely to see everything paid for with a piece of plastic or through technology, so getting them involved with money-related scenarios is more important than ever.
Right now, board games are a popular pastime for lots of families. To teach about money management at the same time, why not spend an afternoon playing one of these classic games?
Monopoly - Age 8+. Introduce basic business concepts by encouraging children to think about whether to invest in property, or hold onto their money. There are lots of versions available - special editions with themes such as football, films and TV shows, Monopoly Junior for younger children, and Monopoly Speed which can be played in under 10 minutes.
Pay Day - Age 8+. Learn about budgeting and the value of work. Each player starts the game with a paycheck and their balance can increase if they gain interest, or deplete when they pay for bills and other expenses. It’s a fun way of showing the different things money is spent on. You may want to bear in mind that the newer versions include less responsible money gains such as gambling so, for the best lesson, you may want to dust off a retro version.
Game of Life - Age 8+. This helps to highlight the importance of budgeting, taxes, and insurance using a fun gaming component.
For younger children, there are lots of educational games that still offer entertainment, such as Money Match Cafe made by Orchard Toys. In this game, you add up coins and deliver the food ordered. It’s teacher-tested for children aged 5 - 8 so is perfect for homeschooling. Plus, there are two levels of difficulty so the game grows with you.
Of course, there are many virtual games and apps available too. A search for “money games for children” on Google Play or Apple App Store brings up lots of results - including apps where you build businesses, play as a cashier, or count coins. Some apps may have in-app purchase options available so make sure you check the apps you’re using before you leave your children to play on them. There are various different things you can set up on your tablet or phone to manage these options, click here to find out more.
Allowing children to be a part of basic routines such as shopping can help them understand more about money and budgeting.
This can include things such as sharing your shopping budget with a child and seeking their help for remaining in that budget or having them work out how much you’ve saved when buying items on offer or by choosing a cheaper product.
Right now, with some restrictions still in place, many shops are either temporarily closed or require contactless payment to avoid transmission. However, you can certainly get children involved while ordering groceries for home delivery. This also gives children the time to compare the prices of different items and make the best out of the budget.
Giving children the opportunity to earn pocket money by carrying out chores can be a good way to teach them the importance of earning money. However, we understand that this is not suitable for everyone so it’s up to you to do what works best for your children.
There are several options for setting up pocket money for children to choose from. For example, some parents may choose to reward completed chores, others could encourage chores to be done without reward and will provide pocket money anyway for money management and some might provide pocket money for ‘extra’ chores that are completed. It’s up to you what works best for you and your children.
A children’s savings account could be a great way for yourself and relatives to save for your children’s future. In addition to this, they can also help children learn advanced money management skills.
Once children have a basic understanding of money, you could use their savings account to teach them about how things such as interest rates work.
Similarly, to normal savings accounts, when choosing a savings account for your child there are a range of different options. Typically, two of the main types of children’s savings accounts include:
Instant access savings accounts. You are likely to receive a lower amount of interest, but you or your child can deposit or withdraw money at any time.
Regular savings accounts. This may pay a higher amount of However, money usually needs to be saved every month to maintain this. You also can’t withdraw your money as quickly.
There are also tax-efficient Junior ISAs where none of the money can be accessed until the child reaches 18.
Whichever saving option you choose for (or with) your child, try to get them involved and interested in their savings. By 2028, it’s estimated that for every 10 purchases an adult makes, they will only use cash once. So teaching a child about how banking works and what numbers on a page represent will better set them up for when they are older.