Teaching your kids about money is a valuable lesson to impart year-round, but the holiday season can offer a great opportunity to discuss the ins and outs of saving money and how budgeting and spending work. Here are some holiday gift ideas to help educate your kids about money in fun and interesting ways.
Schools often use game-based learning in the classroom to help expand knowledge and teach new skills. You can apply this idea at home by finding money games for kids that introduce basic financial concepts, teach them the value of cash, and show them how to count using coins and bills. Board games like The Game of Life®, Pay Day®, and Monopoly® are tried and true classics or this list from The Balance offers other ideas to add to your family game night. Playing a game that shows your kids that money management doesn’t have to be dull or overwhelming can help instill healthy financial skills early and build excitement about saving money for the future.
Children often enjoy learning through stories, and books can be a great gift to help teach about money, show characters in different real-life scenarios, and introduce important lessons that can boost financial literacy. This list of books from Parents offers ideas from preschool up through high school age and has themes that not only teach the value of money but can offer a good starting point to inspire your conversations with your children about making informed financial decisions today and in the future.
When considering a financial gift for kids, children young and old often appreciate a piggy bank since they can visually see and feel how much money they are saving. Nowadays, there are many options beyond your standard piggy bank, including digital coin banks and banks with divided compartments for saving, spending, and sharing. Give your child a roll of coins or some pocket money with the bank, and discuss the importance of budgeting whenever they use it. This will help them understand how to plan to reach a goal and which compartment to drop the coins into based on what they need or want down the road.
Opening a savings account for your child can be an exciting holiday gift that allows them to see how banking works and can potentially make their allowance go even further with a savings interest rate. Look for a bank or credit union that offers an account without a monthly fee and minimum balance requirement. Some places offer other perks like birthday bucks and kid-friendly mobile apps for smartphones and tablets that help them track their money and learn about financial concepts in fun and engaging ways. If your kid isn’t old enough to have an account, open one as a co-owner, and through this dual access, you can learn to save together.
Giving a gift card for the holidays not only provides your child with more freedom in choosing what they want but can teach them how to stick to a budget. With a set amount, you can discuss how several items can add up to the total, or one larger item can be purchased. Knowing they can only spend what is on the card, they begin to learn how to make smart financial decisions and become better shoppers and money managers. A gift card also allows you to:
Gift cards allow you to talk about what your child wants to buy and the importance of the items they are considering, so they can determine the pros and cons and make informed, confident decisions.
A gift card allows for a practical application of numbers and shows how multiple items add up and subtract from the total balance. Helping them calculate and use budgeting techniques with a gift card can demonstrate strategies that they can apply to other financial situations they may encounter.
If your kids do not have something on their current wish list, let them know that it is acceptable to save the gift card until they have an item in mind that they really want to purchase. Delayed gratification and patience are important life skills to teach young children and gift cards can provide a good example of how adults must balance saving and spending or wait to purchase something more meaningful in the future.
Teaching your kids about money doesn’t have to be a challenge; there are many ways to make it a fun and rewarding experience. Adding a creative, educational spin to some of your holiday gifts can help your children get excited about saving money, better understand financial concepts, and build long-lasting financial skills they can carry into adulthood.
The board games mentioned are made by independent companies not affiliated with Midland National® Life Insurance Company.