As most parents agree, financial education for children is a great idea. In fact, many parents wish that they had learned more about money management way back when.
Children are happy asking for and spending the money — until the day when Mom or Dad says, “That’s too expensive” or “We can’t afford that right now.” Suddenly, decision-making enters the picture. The world of money is larger and more complicated than it looked from the window of the candy store.
Summer is the traditional time of enrichment for teens — from summer school to summer jobs and summer camp. And this summer, there are many resources to teach children about money, including money camps, books about money for children and lots of Internet activities.
Some summer camps are designed to teach children from ages 10 to 18 all about money — where it comes from, where it goes, how it affects their lives, and how they can be in control of the mysterious stuff. One such camp is The Money Camp for Kids, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Santa Barbara that offers camps in 10 states.
Even if your children don’t go to money camp this summer, there are many ways you can help them gain some insights into the world of finance. Let them see you manage your money — shopping, budgeting, paying bills, investing, planning a vacation and saving for it. Giving your children an allowance and giving them the responsibility of paying for the things they need, such as clothing, shoes or supplies for sports or hobbies, is a great beginning.
The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens is a book that can inspire your budding tycoons.
Wells Fargo has launched its Stagecoach Island game to teach teens and tweens the basics of managing their money. Participants explore a virtual island with many activities, some of which, such as buying clothes or going to a club, require virtual cash. Players earn “money” by answering trivia questions about saving, managing money and budgeting.
Do Something also has a financial education game for teens.
Whether camping, reading or participating in online games, your children get hands-on exposure to money management. Children learn that beliefs and attitudes about money affect their ability to manage it, that they can choose to create financial independence, and that money can be used to help and support society through charitable giving.