Teaching Money to Kids: How Much Should Your Child Know? Posted on October 19, 2014 12:00

When should you start teaching your child about money? How young is too young for an allowance? At what age should your child be able to solve math problems involving money? Parents and math teachers cannot agree on the answers to these questions.

It all depends on your child. If he or she expresses an interest in learning about money, here are some tips and activities to help your child understand the concept of money.

Beyond Base 10 Blocks: Understanding Money

Ages 6-10  For children ages 6-10, here are some basic concepts about money that you can reinforce at home.

  • Identify Money: Make sure that your child can name each coin and their values.
  • Make Change: Make sure that your child knows how much money to present at a sales counter when paying for an item. Also, make sure your child knows when to expect change back, and how much.
  • Manage an Allowance: Make sure your child knows how to handle an allowance. This may require teaching your child to save up money for desired items.

Ages 11-13  As your child gets older, his or her understanding of money should increase. Here are some tips for children ages 11-13.

  • Set Savings Goals: Encourage your child to set spending goals instead of just making impulsive purchases. For example, have your child save spending money for an upcoming family vacation or a class trip.
  • Open a Savings Account: Allow your child to empty his or her piggy bank, count the money, and open a big-kid savings account at a local bank.
  • Donate: Your child is at the right age to begin donating to charities. Your child should learn about worthy causes and donate a small portion of his or her money.
  • Learn to Shop: Allow your child to spend his or her own money at a store as he or she sees fit. This will quickly teach your child about the value of money and merchandise, as well as the value of sales!

Ages 14-18  By the time your child reaches this age group, he or she should have a good understanding of the value of money. It is still very important to reinforce money concepts even at this age because it will not be long before your child is out in the real world on his or her own. Instilling responsible spending is critical. Here are some tips to help children ages 14-18 learn more about the value of money.

  • Save for College: Teach your child about the different options for paying for college. Talk to your child about scholarships, student loans, and Pell grants.
  • Get a Job: The quickest way for your child to learn the value of a dollar is for him or her to actually get a job. Your child will soon see how hard it is to earn money.
  • Learn to Budget: Help your child create a budget to allocate money for all of the things he or she needs.

These tips for teaching the different age groups are not set in stone. Your child may be ready to learn these concepts at an earlier age, or may not be ready as soon as you think. Talk to your child and find out what he or she already knows about money and move ahead accordingly.