I feel one of the most important things in our current economic times is to teach children how to manage finances. Many of us were not taught about how to manage money when we were growing up. The main things to teach children are the differences between wants and needs, saving and spending, and where money comes from. It's easy for them to think you can just swipe a card or write a check and you will always have enough. When I volunteered for Junior Achievement, the first day I was talking about what a volunteer is and asked the students about it. They said its when you work and don't get paid. They weren't too keen on that idea.
You can use your everyday experiences as a teaching tool. When you go to the bank, explain to your children what you are doing, making a deposit, getting cash, etc. In the book, "Money doesn't grow on trees" on the stories is about a friend of hers who took his kids on a trip across the country to see their grandparents. Everytime they stopped one of the children was always lagging behind. When they were almost home, the father asked him why he was always late. He replied that he kept having to pick up the money his father kept forgetting. He had been picking up the tips at every stop.
Now financial literacy is being promoted more and many states are including it in their curriculums.
One of the organizations working towards financial literacy is Junior Achievement. A few months ago I started volunteering with Junior Achievement. It was a great experience and I am looking forward to future opportunities. Volunteers go into class rooms for 5 lessons. The lessons are between 30 and 45 minutes. The students really look forward to it.
One of my upcoming goals is to provide a weekly article with websites and other resources that deal with teaching children about money and finances.
This fall I am teaching a Community Education course on this subject of ways to teach your children about how to handle money.