Take preschoolers shopping to help them learn money skills

Gloria Nye  |  7/10/2008 8:13:03 PM

Back-to-School News Distributed 07/11/08

While older children are preparing to start school in the fall, younger children are eager to learn new things, too. Shopping for back-to-school items is a good time to start teaching your preschooler about spending and saving money, according to LSU AgCenter family economist Dr. Gloria Nye.

“Your kids are learning about money from many sources,” Nye said. “They see you shopping, buying things and using money, modeling money management.”

She adds that if they watch TV, they also are seeing commercials.

“Like it or not, your children are developing attitudes about money at an early age,” Nye said. “As a parent, you can influence what your child learns about how money works, how your family uses money and what it can do.”

Nye said that when you teach your child basic lessons about money, you have the opportunity to share with your child what you value and what your family thinks is important.

The Credit Union National Association has online resources, in English and Spanish, to help parents of preschoolers with age-appropriate, parent-and-child tested activities that can be used to teach children about waiting to spend money, not losing money, helping with shopping, earning money, using money to buy something, learning that when money is spent it is gone, having fun without spending money and giving gifts that do not cost money.

“What you want your young child to learn about money depends on the personal values of your family,” Nye said.

The Credit Union Association’s Thrive by Five Task Force recommends teaching your preschooler numerous basic concepts. These include: spending, saving and sharing are ways to use money; buying (spending) means trading money for things; saving allows you to buy something in the future because you don’t have enough money today; and jobs pay money, but money also can come from gifts.

Additional concepts include: you can keep money safe at home and other places; paper money and coins are worth different amounts; different goods have different prices; people pay for things in different ways; people have different needs and wants; people have a limited amount of money to spend; and money can be spent only once – after you buy something, you need more money to buy something else.

Still more concepts include: planning helps people set goals and make choices about money; some things do not cost any money; people do some things for each other without being paid; people give money to help others; and people in a community share the cost of some work done for everyone.

Free activities and other resources to help parents who want to encourage healthy attitudes about money in young children to teach these basic concepts can be found online at www.creditunion.coop.

“Remember that young children learn by observing, through hearing stories and playing,” Nye said. She advises doing activities that are interesting and fun. “The earlier children learn basic money management concepts, the more practice they have while growing up, the more confidence and ability they can develop in managing their own personal finances.”

Parents can start teaching the basics early and give children opportunities to develop sound money management skills they’ll be able to put to good use as adults.

“Don’t you wish your parents had done that for you?” Nye asked.

For related family economics and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter home page at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com
On the Internet: Teaching Your Preschooler About Spending and Saving: www.creditunion.coop
Contact. Gloria Nye at (225) 578-1727 or gnye@agcenter.lsu.edu 
Editor: Mark Claesgens at (225) 578-2939 or mclaesgens@agcenter.lsu.edu

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