Teaching your toddler about money may seem like an odd thing at first. How much can a person that can barely walk or talk really learn about something as complex as money? I think you will be surprised!
I believe toddlers can learn a lot about money and how it works. Our toddlers are amazingly adept about what it looks like to be counting money, giving money, spending money, saving money, and paying taxes on money you earn. Yes, our toddlers are interested when I show them how to prepare tax returns, explain what it means to pay taxes, and showing how the government uses those taxes. That’s not to say they understand how it all works but by showing them and entering them into the process I believe they are well ahead of the game.
I believe if you merely show your toddlers what you are doing with money they are going to pick up on more than you would think. When you are paying your bills, have them watch you look them over and pay them. When you are going over your savings, let them listen. When you prepare your tax returns, show them how it works. If you have employees, explain to them what that means exactly and how you are contributing to the world around you be employing someone. If you start a business, describe to them what the business does exactly and how it impacts others. When you sell something, explain how you are doing what you are doing by that sale being made.
When you earn money, bring them to the bank. Kids LOVE the bank. Mostly because they get candy. However, they also get to meet with the bank employees; see the machines; push buttons on an ATM; see how you endorse checks; wait in a line; pay attention; be quiet for a bit; and say thank you. Going to the bank is such a glorious experience for toddlers, don’t let them miss out on it! Also, I think the bank employees love it too.
Your toddlers are going to learn how money works from you in some way, that’s the bottom line. Whether it’s good money habits or bad ones, they’re learning them from you daily. Chances are you are shaping their financial future right now, whether you know it or not. That also includes how they think about giving money away. When your toddlers hear you talk about giving, and you are giving cheerfully, I believe it is going to be natural for them to want to give. Speak openly about giving around your toddlers, they will hear you with open ears. Be open and genuine with your kids, no matter how young, and they will begin to see how fun it can be to give cheerfully.
No matter where you are financially, your toddlers are watching and listening. They know how you are interacting with money. Help them to have a positive money mindset now and encourage them to learn about how money works. You will be the biggest influence in their financial lives so accept the responsibility today, even when they’re toddlers!