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A few simple ways to teach your toddlers & preschoolers about financial responsibility


I wrote this post over a year ago for another blog. I am so happy to share my thoughts on Carrots Are Orange!

My son is only 17 months old but he gets that dad leaves for work every morning and that he comes home to us every evening. We walk him to the door, give him a hug and a kiss and say goodbye.

For some time he would simply say, “Dad-dee?” several times throughout the day to which I would reply, “Daddy is at work, sweetie. Remember that we said goodbye to him this morning.” Then he’d say sweetly, “Dad-dee, home.” Yes, of course, we’d both like for Daddy to come home.

Teach Preschoolers Financial Responsibility

Well, this week I noticed that his understanding of where Dad-dee is going is beginning to change. He attempts to say, “Dad-dee work. Car. Bye-bye,” or something akin to that order. So I decided what the heck, I’ll take the time and the opportunity to explain the concept of work, why Dad-dee leaves for work every day, and why work is important. As I explained the concept of work to him, he listened intently. I could tell he was paying attention. So I jumped on it.

True, at 17 months old, he may not “get it” true but I believe 100% that some of what I am explaining gets through to him now and more and more will get through to him with each passing day. Don’t underestimate your children, no matter how young. I believe that statement in the context of so many subjects (death, money, nutrition, etc).

My tips for you are pretty simple:

  1. The earlier, the better. So start teaching about the concept of “work” early! Ingrained in him that money is earned through hard work and effort.
  2. The earlier you start teaching the concept of work, paychecks, money, etc, the more simple language you need to use.
  3. Use context your child will understand. For example, you could talk about how money allows us to buy the food you eat, the milk we drinks, the car we drive, the blocks with which he plays, etc. Or a simple antidote about going to the store and paying for groceries. Anything that might connect the dots for your child, no matter how young.

Now the concept of “work” is not an easy one but have faith your child will begin to understand and the earlier you start introducing these concepts, the better. As your child grows older, you can introduce more tangible concepts of a paycheck via their own allowance system. On the less tangible side, think about concepts such as “the value of work”, strong work ethic, and the benefits of working in a team and as an individual.

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