What should I know as a parent?

How to nurture your child’s knowledge about money

Teaching your child about money may seem daunting but it is actually a very simple concept and one that you should definitely start on while they are still young.

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When your children are young, you teach them so many things. You teach them to learn the alphabet, to read, to write, to count, to clean up after themselves and so much more. But there’s one more thing I added to that list — teaching my 5-year-old about money. Yes, money. And it’s easier than you’d think.

My husband and I are Nurturers, which is why we see money parenting as very important. In fact, Nurturers like us believe that it’s the responsibility of parents, and that teaching children about money is something that should be done together, providing guidance and clear advice. (Want to find out your money parenting persona? Take our 2-min quiz here.)

We seek to achieve that our children:

  • acquire financial knowledge,
  • learn how to budget and save, and
  • learn the difference between a want and a need

And we are very disciplined with our finances and have clear goals. This is something that we want to teach our children, so why not start early?

Nurturing knowledge starts early

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Jim Brown, a financial expert for over 30 years, puts it quite simply — “Teaching your children about money doesn’t have to be complicated. You either put in the effort and time, or you don’t”1.

I used to think that money was a big, complicated concept. Then I came to realise that just like everything else, when you break it down to a child’s level, it really is quite simple.

Like what Jayne A. Pearl, the author of Kids and Money: Giving Them the Savvy to Succeed Financially says, when children are very young, it’s really  easy to work money concepts into their imaginary games2, like playing pretend store or restaurant. When I started doing this myself, I found there was so much I could teach my son on a daily basis. Trust me when I say they understand more than you’d expect them to.

Also, it helps that children are curious about anything and everything. As a parent, you’d definitely know what it’s like being bombarded by their never-ending questions. This excitement is a huge advantage.

When my husband and I began the money lessons, we started with simple games: imaginary play like tea parties, owning an ice-cream shop and even shopping at a supermarket. We noticed that our son caught on to the ideas rather quickly.

We enforced money lessons in savings by giving him a savings box and letting him deposit coins he’d earned with good behaviour in it. And we also made it a point to bring him along when we ran errands.

He’s since accompanied us to the bank, store, and even the ATM, because everyday experience is important for us as Nurturers — and of course this is always better when complemented with clear, consistent guidance from us parents. We had open discussions with him about money: the basics of how it works, how we earned money, and how we used it.

Over time, he’s started working with us to make grocery lists and to budget for simple things like our weekly supermarket trips, dinner outings or how much we would spend when we went on playdates. He’s even begun to helpfully point out super saver deals when we were shopping — what he can read anyway.

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Why it’s important to start young

Now, on to why it is important that you start your money parenting journey sooner rather than later.

According to a 2013 Cambridge University Study, “children are already able to grasp money concepts at age three, and by age seven, their money habits are already set.”3

Thinking about it, teaching children about money is a lot like teaching them table manners, making them understand the importance of telling the truth, or saying “please” and “thank you”. These are habits we strive to build in our child from young with active guidance as Nurturers, and money habits are no different.

You want your child to understand the importance of money, its worth, and the habits they should have when it comes to handling money. What better time to start this than when they are young, impressionable and absorb everything like a sponge?

So don’t be intimidated by the idea of money. Just keep things simple and get on board your money parenting journey. Remember, teaching your 5-year old about money can really be easy and fun!

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