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Children’s Book Review – Dollars and Sense

Now, more than ever perhaps, teaching and learning financial responsibility is vital to our survival as individuals, families and, even greater, as society.  The past few years have shown us the fragility of the economic system and how we all can be impacted from the trouble.

So, let’s start with our children and focus on teaching them effectively about money. Thus I am in search of effective children’s books that teach the nuances of financial responsibility. My journey has been fraught with disappointment. 

Children’s Book Review – Dollars and Sense

The latest disappointment is the classic Berenstain Bears with a book called “Dollars and Sense”.  The book gets great reviews on Amazon so take my comments or leave them.

Teaching Kids Money Sense

An entertaining story that misses the mark on what I’d like to begin teaching my preschooler. The book tries to convey a message about “money managing” beginning with pages describing how Sister and Brother like to play with money. That is the first issue I have with the book. Money is not for playing.

Sister and Brother walk us through how they understand that money doesn’t grow on trees, why we need money, how we spend it and when we spend it. All very helpful, actually. I try to convey this message with my son, certainly an important first step in a healthy financial well-being.

The part with which I have the BIGGEST issue is as part of the plan to teach Sister and Brother about managing money Mama and Papa establish an allowance for them. Sure Sister and Brother learn a terrific lesson when they go out and spend all their allowance on junk in one fell swoop.

Okay, we get THAT point but the book misses a HUGE opportunity that could have easily been worked into the story: Mama and Papa provide a weekly allowance without Sister and Brother having to EARN the allowance. There is no mention of chores or reward for hard work elsewhere in life.

You get money without having to earn it. You can save it or spend it. There is also a missed opportunity to teach children about altruism either via spending money on things other than toys and candy for themselves or charitable giving.

In the end, Mama comes up with a creative plan to make checkbooks for the kids. This part I like very much. Hands-on and based in the real world (except that everything is electronic these days).

Other than that point, though, the book misses opportunities to teach children about financial responsibility.  Managing money is important but how do we earn it? Why do we save? Why do we spend?

So I am still in search of a few more books to add to a small pile that appeals to children but also teach a valuable life lesson about financial well being.

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