Watching your children grow and learn is probably one of the greatest joys of your life. You teach them how to walk and how to talk. You teach them how to feed themselves and dress themselves. You teach them so many skills in life. But you may also inadvertently teach them bad habits.
Children learn through copying what the people around them do. That includes how they spend, save, withdraw and donate money. In fact, research for the Money Advice Service shows children begin to settle into their lifelong financial habits from as young as seven years old.
So by teaching your child how to be good with money from a young age, you’re increasing their chances of being wise with money as an adult.
Here are 20 ways you can help them develop good financial habits:
- Introduce kids to money as soon as they can count. Even young children can learn the different shapes, sizes, colour and worth of coins. Teach them how to store money safely, so they don’t lose it and know it’s not a toy.
- Talk to your kids about how to save money, make money and spend it wisely. They will only learn this through example, so it’s important to let them see how you handle your own money.
- Help your children learn the difference between needs, wants and wishes, so they will find it easier to make good spending decision in the future.
- Show children how money builds up as they save and how quickly it disappears when they spend it. You could set up a chart, giving them a sticker every time they save another £5 or £10.
- Encourage your kids to save regularly – give them pocket money in coins to make it easier to save part of it every month. It may be worth giving them two piggy banks: one for savings and one for spending money.
- Talk to your kids about setting short- and long-term goals for saving. It may be something as simple as a DVD or something as big as a Playstation. Learning to save for a specific item will help your child understand why they are saving.
- Encourage your kids to only buy things when they can afford them. Don’t refuse to let them withdraw money to buy something as it may put them off saving if they think they can’t get their money when they want it.
- Take your kids to a bank or building society to open their own savings account. Having their own account will help them get used to the idea of banking.
- Encourage your kids to keep a record of what they’ve saved and what they’ve spent. It will give them a good base for when they’re older and managing their monthly budget.
- Use shopping trips to teach them the value of money. The supermarket is usually a child’s first experience of shopping. Show them how planning what to buy in advance helps them spend wisely rather than impulse buying.
- Teach your child what money’s worth by giving them £1 at the supermarket that they can spend on whatever they like. Explain that they only have £1 and must stick within that budget. It will help them learn to make decisions about what they can and can’t afford and how they spend money.
- Make sure your children see you paying for your shopping. It will help them understand that they have to pay for items and don’t get them for free.
- Let them make their own decisions about their money. Whether they spend wisely or make a poor choice, they will learn from it.
- Give them the chance to earn their pocket money or perhaps earn extra by doing chores. It will help your child connect earning money with working for it. Set them tasks (making their bed, tidying their room and so on) and only give them the money if they do the work to earn it.
- Let your child buy some of their own things rather than buying them everything they want when they want it. It will help your child understand the value of money, the effort of saving and they may well appreciate the item more when they’ve had to wait and buy it themselves.
- Teach older children that money isn’t endless - when it’s gone, it’s gone. Don’t just give them money if they don’t have enough to do all they want to do with their friends at the weekend. Instead, they will have to decide which activity is more important to them.
- Encourage your child to set aside part of their pocket money to help pay for birthday or Christmas gifts for family members or friends.
- Help older kids understand that goods and services cost money by giving them responsibility for certain things. Perhaps they can be responsible for paying their mobile phone bill or buying their own school supplies from their allowance.
- Let your children hand over money at the till themselves. It will help them understand you have to pay for things. You could get them to hand over the money and get them to count the change to make sure it’s correct.
- Help your child understand money isn’t just notes and coins. Virtual money is everywhere these days and it’s easy to forget it’s real money. Get the balance on your current account from a cash machine or online banking before and after you’ve used your debit card. Show your child how the amount falls when you’ve spent money without using cash.
We’re helping kids get better with numbers through rugby
At Aviva, we’re keen to help the next generation to learn how to manage their money. The basic foundation for good money management lies in sound numeracy skills.
To help kids learn maths in a fun way, we’ve teamed up with Premiership Rugby to create Aviva Tackling Numbers, an innovative and engaging programme for 7-9 year olds. It uses rugby to make learning about numbers fun, exciting and rewarding.
The programme combines interactive classroom maths sessions with practical, number-based rugby games to help develop the financial numeracy and maths skills of the next generation.
Twelve Premiership Rugby clubs deliver Tackling Numbers, but it’s also available to download for free online if your children’s school would like to use the material.
Five things people are saying about Aviva Tackling Numbers
- An extra 20% of children described themselves as “really confident in maths” after taking part in Aviva Tackling Numbers.
- 83% of parents have seen an increased awareness of the importance of maths in everyday life for their child.
- 91% of teachers would recommend Aviva Tackling Numbers.
- 80% of teachers rated the programme effective in teaching national curriculum numeracy.
- 73% of teachers will continue to use the Aviva Tackling Numbers resources in the future.