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Children’s Day is an excellent excuse to remember that it is always a good time to start our little ones in the world of finance . Encouraging financial literacy in children can seem complicated from an adult point of view, unless we add a touch of fun. Therefore, here are some simple games for them to learn about money management and basic concepts such as income , expenses , budgeting , investing , saving and profit .
According to World Bank data cited by Condusef , 51% of Mexicans were never taught how to manage their money. Of those who claimed to have received some guidance, 26% indicated that it was from their mother, 22% from their father and 7% from teachers.
These figures reflect that parents are the main source of financial education in the country. Therefore, they need teaching tools that facilitate such an important task.
First, consider these tips to instill a culture of healthy finances in your little ones:
Make it clear to them where the money that mom and dad have comes from
From a very young age, children can understand that adults must work to receive money. Whether it comes from a salary as employees or from earnings, if they are entrepreneurs.
Teach them how they manage money at home
Once they know where the money (income) comes from, they have to explain that it serves to cover the family’s needs: rent or mortgage, services, pantry and clothing, as well as to indulge themselves, in addition to allocating a part to savings family.
Learning how to earn money for children is as important as teaching them to spend, invest, budget, and save. Image via Depositphotos.com
Encourage them to save
After a certain age, most children receive an allowance from their parents. In addition, some have other income, such as money that their grandmother or uncles give them, and the rewards of ‘the mouse’ or ‘the tooth fairy’. Teach him that although they can use it for an immediate treat (some candy or small toy), it is a good idea to save a part to achieve a greater goal; for example, a visit to the amusement park or a larger, more expensive toy.
Be their example by managing your personal finances well
Remember that children learn from what they see, and this includes personal finances . If your parents are always spending impulsively, with debt or without a peso in the bag at the end of the month, as they grow up they will see it as something normal and it is very likely that they will replicate it. It is also important that they see you save, even if they are minimal amounts, to reinforce the previous point.
If you want your little ones to immerse themselves in money management , consider playing these simple games :
1. My own money
Physically show them the money and explain all the types of bills and coins there are, their denomination and equivalences. For example, how many one-peso coins are equal to a ten-peso coin, and how many ten-peso coins do they need to exchange for a 50 or 100 peso bill.
Then, take sheets of paper, colored pencils, stamps, stickers, markers, or whatever they have on hand, and invite them to create their own coins and bills .
While you can buy a pack of these at any stationery or toy store, designing them themselves will help them better process their value and make them more fun to use in other games.
2. My first job
As we said, although children often receive money as a gift, it is very important to make it clear that you have to work to earn it. One way to do this is by giving them their first ‘job’ , always according to their age.
For example, if mum is doing home office , she can hire her little one as an ‘assistant’ to help her with simple tasks , such as putting sheets in the printer, sharpening pencils or writing down to-dos and reminding her when she has a virtual meeting. Make a ‘contract’ in which you specify the amount you will receive at the end of the week for completing these tasks.
A vital point is that the ‘work’ is not some household chore that is part of the child’s responsibilities, such as putting away his toys, arranging his clothes, walking the dog or washing dishes. Much less contemplate giving him a ‘salary’ for getting good grades or doing homework. This will only cause you to see your obligations as something that should be rewarded, and not as part of the life of a responsible, autonomous and functional human being.
From a very young age, children are able to understand that money does not seem like magic, but is earned through work, investments and entrepreneurship. Image via Despositphotos.com.
3. The supermarket
If you already understand how money is earned, it is time to teach them how it is spent. The supermarket game is a favorite among the little ones, since they have always seen their parents do the grocery store or buy in a store.
Take some items out of your pantry and arrange them on a table like a counter. Price them with stickers and alternate so that one sells and the other buys. This will help you easily understand concepts such as purchasing power (what is it for?), Transactions (money in exchange for products), savings (which is cheaper?), Compare products and make purchasing decisions .
4. The small businessman
Children can grasp something as complex as the cycle of production , investment , buying and selling, and counting profits , if you present it to them as a game.
For example, if you have the possibility of creating a garden at home, teach him to grow vegetables such as lettuce, carrots and spinach. When the time comes, harvest the crops and prepare salads, which you can sell to your family or neighbors at a symbolic price. With the money obtained, take him to buy something he wants a lot, so that he learns to enjoy the fruit of his effort in a healthy way.
Another option is to invest the money buying raw materials and make bracelets, foam figures or a dessert that you can easily sell.
In both cases, the child will learn that being an employee is not the only way to generate income, but can also do so by producing consumer goods or investing for profit .
5. Feed the little pig
Piggy banks are an essential item for every child. Although they can be found in a wide variety of shapes, the ones that are best for this game are those with animal figures.
The idea is to give the little one a piggy bank in the shape of a pig, cat, dog or any animal that needs to ‘eat’. Then, the child will have the responsibility to ‘feed’ his piggy bank with coins or bills whenever he can, be it once a day, every other day or weekly. The little one will write down the amount entered on a calendar and this way he will know exactly how much money he has or if he needs to ‘feed him’ more often.
As tradition indicates, when your piggy bank is full you can take out your savings. You can spend them on a goal that you have set, invest them in a small business or put them in a savings account that generates returns.
If the children are a little older and have mastered the basics, an excellent reinforcement for their financial education is the board games such as Monopoly , Turista , Catan Junior , Ratland , Cashflow or Weight Decisions , a Mexican game that you can get in the shop of the Interactive Museum of Economics (MIDE).
These are some examples of simple games that can be implemented at home without much effort. With them we will motivate them to learn the basics of economics and make better decisions in the future.