Today’s Question #119: “Mommy, why do you have to work?”

Every now and then out of a million and one questions, we’re asked something that presents the perfect opportunity to teach a valuable lesson. When your child begins to ask questions and express interest in your interaction with money, it’s a great time to start teaching them the importance of money and how to manage it properly.

As soon as a child can count and recognize the difference between coins, he or she is ready for their first lesson in money management. After explaining that mommies and daddies go to work so they can make money to buy the things they need and want, start discussing the difference between needs and wants. This discussion sets the stage for other lessons on money management such as saving, setting financial goals, and making wise investments.

The following are a few common activities to help give your kids a real life experience in money management:

Allow them to help. Children love to pretend they are grown-ups. Give them a grown-up responsibility at the grocery store and allow them to find a cereal they like that fits in a set budget. This may take a few tries, but it’s a fun way to give them a little hands-on training.

Let them earn it. Allowance is a great way for children to understand the value of a dollar. Whether their allowance is a $1 a week or $10 a week, earning money also teaches the value of hard work.

Play games. Besides the fact that your children would actually love to have an hour of your undivided attention, playing games such as Monopoly and LIFE will teach them how to make wise investments and handle money properly.

Show them how to grow it. Teach them the importance of saving. Open up a savings account in their name. Take regular trips together to make deposits. Allow them to fill out their own deposit slips- they’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.

Last, but definitely not least, its important to lead by example. Start by examining your own attitude about money. Your children learn more from what they see you do than from what you tell them.

We are so exicted to one of the sponsors for the upcoming Mom 2.0 Summit in Houston.  In honor of the event, this week's Blogging For Change posts will be by moms and for moms (& dads too)!


Tanisha (Warner) Smith is a former communications manager at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

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