Two Girls Doing Schoolwork - A Smart Way To Start by Mara Catherine Harvey

Teaching Kids Money: The Right Way

Teaching Kids Money: The Right Way

I came across a recently published article by the Bank of England on how to teach kids financial education.

If you’d like to read the article, you can  click here.

Here are some important points that the article discusses:

  • According to research done, only about a quarter (27%) of kids in the UK enjoy learning about money at school.
  • Three things that kids said would make learning about money fun are jokes and funny stuff, games, and using “real” money in “real” situations.
  • Girls were less likely (19%)  to enjoy learning about money than boys (34%.)

So here are my opinions on this.

We should not relegate ​financial education to the schools -- it should start with us parents, and at home.

I applaud that schools are trying to include money and financial responsibility in their curriculum. It’s definitely an important topic to talk about, and it needs to be a conversation that spans the entire educational curriculum. However, we cannot expect that the full burden of educating our kids about money falls to them.

As we all know, a child’s first school is the home and the parents are the first teachers. We need to be proactive in educating our kids about proper money habits because these habits are largely set before children even start school. You don’t have to sit your kids down and give them a lecture on it. You can educate them by just continuing to do what you do: when you shop, when you make spending or saving choices, or when you go to the bank. The key is to make these actions visible and engage the children in money moments, carefully explaining to them why you do such things. To teach kids about financial education is also about making sure that money moments are visible.

If you’d like to learn how to start teaching your kids about money at home,  check my blog post here.

Jokes about money are not appropriate. Games that include instances where fake money is easy to accumulate do not teach kids the most valuable money skills.

To teach kids about financial education, I understand that we have to make learning about money more engaging for kids. Because if kids are bored or if they don’t enjoy things, they will never make an effort to understand what we are teaching them. However, I don’t agree with the idea that jokes about money would be desirable to help teach kids about it.

Money is a serious matter and if we start to make jokes about it, then its value will not be taken seriously. We have to be aware of the kind of values we impart with our kids when it comes to money. If we want our kids to take money seriously, then we should always take it seriously as well.

There are constructive and fun ways to discuss the importance of money without devaluing it. With that in mind, I also don’t recommend the use of fake money with fake jobs or digital games, because it dampens the idea that money is hard to earn. Kids need to grow up with the idea that earning money takes time and real effort.

I ​believe there are ways to make learning about money fun. You can gamify some of the nonessential household chores if kids want to earn extra money. In addition, you can turn family moments into money moments by asking kids for help in adding up the total, counting change, etc.

Money can be fun, but it’s not a joke.

We need to make an extra effort to encourage girls, in particular, to learn about money. This means that we have to make money something engaging and understandable for them.

We know from abundant research sources that there are too few girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The same buses that make girls shy away from maths are the one that makes them shy away from finance. We need to change their overall mindset about math and money. It needs to be seen as something that girls are good at - and just as good at as the boys! 

Additionally, we need to want to talk about money with kids, and particularly with girls. Kids can get disengaged with money if adults brush them off when they ask about it. Adults sometimes shoo kids away from money and brand it as “adult-stuff”. This, in turn, alienates kids from any money moments and learning opportunities because they are tuned out.

We have to change that mindset.

We have to make topics on money and finances visible and inclusive to kids so that it becomes a part of their upbringing. As parents, we have to be the one to adjust to them and help them understand. We have to be patient as they begin to learn about important things how it fits into the world. We can’t delay the kids’ learning on money just because we think they’re too young for such things. Waiting for them to go to school to learn all about is simply too late.

Remember, the more we delay them learning about financial responsibility, the harder it will be to correct the misconceptions they carry as they grow up. We have to teach kids about financial education as easy as possible. Money habits are largely formed by the age of 7. So imagine how many good habits will be formed if you initiate them on money matters with A Smart Way To Start when they are younger.

Start Early to teach kids about Financial Education with A Smart Way To Start

This is where my books -- the A Smart Way series -- really can make a difference. You see, I wanted to make finances and money conversations inclusive, engaging and fun for all, parents and kids alike. So I turned difficult concepts like money, chores, allowances, savings, spending, and sustainability to simple words and fun rhymes!

I worked with an amazing illustrator, Mariajo, who helped me bring Marty’s money world to life. Her amazing watercolour illustrations helped bring more character, colour, and fun, into the books, too.

Have a sneak peek of the whole series and see how I’ve turned Marty’s world into a relatable, fun, and educational money story for kids!

 I’m giving away a copy of the first book for FREE! My goal is to educate as many little girls and boys on money matters as early as possible! Click here to get the digital copy or click here to sign up and get the physical copy.

And while we educate children about money, we educate  them about equality and sustainability, too. Because for us at Smart Way To Start, money is not just a transmission of value, it’s a transmission of values.

Mara Harvey

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