As a mom, there’s never just one job that you have to cover. It’s an endless barrage of task after task after task that can be overwhelming.
So, it makes sense if you can create a system that helps you feed two birds with one seed. Right?
What if you could help your kids with the following habits: doing chores, managing their money, and becoming more civic-minded by donating to charity? And it’s possible to do all of this with one system.
One System Can Teach Kids Three Healthy Habits?
Like a lot of parents, I’ve created a chore chart as a way of tracking if my kids do the things they’re supposed to for their weekly payment. This can be a combination of chores they’re expected to do as being part of the family such as brushing their teeth and cleaning up the sink after themselves to those that go above those expectations.
Each time they do a chore, they place a chore stick into their bin so I can track if they’ve done what they are supposed to. This means it makes them responsible for their own actions. I simply ask how their chores are coming and they have a tendency to self-regulate without me nagging them about getting their work done.
What makes this system great on multiple levels is that it accomplishes several things.
First, it builds healthy habits. No one is going to be standing over them when they get out on their own checking to see if they’ve done the dishes or swept the kitchen. They need to learn how to self-regulate and monitor their own behaviors. So, it’s important to teach these healthy habits at an earlier age before they get released into the real world.
Build Healthy Habits
It teaches them the importance of working for money. If they don’t do the chores, they don’t get paid. This instills in them that they have to earn what they get and not just have it handed to them. The amount of personal responsibility this gives them is amazing.
Earn Screen Time
Another thing it provides my kids is the ability to earn screen time. No one wants their child turning into a mindless zombie, but we also don’t want them completely shut out from the amazing technology that this generation is in love with.
My kids don’t get screen time during the school week. But they complete their chores in order to earn weekend screen time. This makes them appreciate earning their time and it also means they value the time that they do get.
Teaching the Healthy Money Habit
Now, every family is different, but in my house, we give our kids $10 a week for completing their chores. We have a bank system they use to keep track of their money. Each week, I give them the $10 and they have to decide how much they’re going to put into each of three “accounts”—spend, save, and give away.
The spend section is obvious—the amount of money they want to use right now to buy something like snacks or a small toy. The save account is where I teach them to delay gratification. Sure, they might want a really expensive item; but they have to learn to wait weeks or even months to earn enough money to buy it themselves. But the real difference is the “give” account—this is money they set aside to donate to charity. This instills in them a desire to help others. But it also gets them to see beyond themselves and donate to charities that they want to give to.
Best Part of the System is The Communication
I love being able to sit down with them and have them explain their thought process on how much to spend, save, and give. It allows me to check in and see how they are learning healthy money habits.
If you think back to your childhood and imagine the one thing you wish you had been taught as a kid, I’m going to bet that money management is going to come up near the top of the list.
After the “birds and the bees” talk, this can be one of the toughest things to explain to your kids. The hardest part about teaching money skills to kids, I think, is taking the extra time and effort out of our already busy schedule to talk to them and show them things about it while also being consistent with it. (Consistency is one of those things that we all have to work on, but when it comes to money that’s especially true.)
If money management skills are something you haven’t already started, it can be done with three really super simple things.
1. Play Money
One of the very first things we did when the kids were around four and six was we started playing the Monopoly board game with them. There are lots of variations on Monopoly right now, including some specifically made for little kids, but the core concept is always the same.
It introduces the concept of collecting money and buying “houses” as well as having to pay rent. This makes learning about money fun and competitive. Nowadays, there are plenty of board games that make learning about money fun and easy, including one called Act Your Wage from money guru Dave Ramsey.
2. Piggy Banks
Another thing we did early on was to buy the kids their own set of piggy banks. Like with any new “toys,” they loved them and couldn’t wait to start putting money into them.
We had “Spend, Save, and Give” banks and explained to them what each was for. The spend and save banks are pretty obvious. It’s important for your kids to decide how much of their money they want to spend and how much they want to save and to see that their decisions with money have consequences.
But the “Give” bank is also important because it encourages your child to set aside money to share with charity groups. There are a lot of different piggy banks you can buy out there, or you can make this a little more personalized by having them create their own.
3. Chore Chart
Finally, we started a chore chart where our kids are able to earn $0.25 for each chore they complete. Now, we aren’t talking about paying them that much for cutting the grass or weed-eating the flower-beds. These are simple things that I knew they were capable of doing like picking up their toys and putting away clutter.
At the end of the day, it was very exciting for them to receive the quarters and then put them into their piggy banks. This teaches them that money isn’t something you are given, but rather something you have to earn.
Getting the Process Started Is Important
The most important thing, though, is to just start. The younger you begin, the better, so they get used to it and understand that “parents aren’t made out of money” and “money really does not grow on trees.”
More Tools and Tips for Teaching Money
We have a few links that may help you to get started teaching money principles to your children: