The National Parenting Center

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Helping your child develop money sense

Many kids grow up with little education about economic matters from their families or school. One poll indicated that only 35% of parents discuss money issues with their children. As a result of this neglect, kids approach adulthood poorly prepared to manage their own finances, make sound money decisions, or even understand what’s going on in the economic news of the nation and world. You can help your children develop better money sense by spending time with them on a regular basis cultivating a positive attitude toward finances. Here are some ways to do this.

• First, talk with your children about economics in the news. You may need to simplify things for younger kids, but studies show that even kindergartners can understand a concept like “opportunity costs” when it is presented appropriately.

• Second, give your child economic responsibilities by providing an allowance, helping them open up a savings and/or checking account, and assisting them with budgeting for a desired item.

• Third, use everyday situations as opportunities for talking about economic matters. For example, if you’re considering buying a dog, talk about how much it will cost to feed the dog, provide veterinary care, and so forth over the course of several years. Also, when you go to the store, let your young child make purchases with no or minimal assistance from you.

• Finally, encourage your child’s school to provide education in economic matters. Even at the elementary school level kids have a lot to gain from an approach that values them as the major consumers of tomorrow.

Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. is an award-winning author and speaker with twenty-eight years of teaching experience from the primary through the doctoral level, and over one million copies of his books in print on issues related to learning and human development. He is the author of nine books including Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, In Their Own Way, Awakening Your Child’s Natural Genius, 7 Kinds of Smart, The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom, and Awakening Genius in the Classroom. His books have been translated into sixteen languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Danish, and Russian.

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