We should never make the mistake of thinking that children’s brains are just miniature versions of adults’ brains. They are in fact developing brains that are built to learn and it’s an amazing process to witness. However, this means that they need information presented to them in the right way in order for them to be able to process it.
I see parents adapting to their children’s developing brains on an everyday basis. A great example of this is how children learn to brush their teeth independently and the various stages involved. It usually starts with parents doing all of the brushing. Then gradually the child is encouraged and supported to do more and more brushing, until finally they can do it completely by themselves. Eventually they don’t even need supervising by their parents to ensure they are doing it properly.
This is just one example of how parents scaffold and support their children’s development in a way that allows them to gradually build their skills and become independent. However, I am struck by how there is no way of completing the same process to help children learn about money and finances. As a Psychologist I know that, children need to learn through doing and they need to do it jointly with someone else, who can help guide them.
LEGO® are passionate about understanding how children learn and through their research report called 'The Future of Learning’, they have defined three stages of learning; connecting, exploring and transforming. Connecting relates to the curiosity, wonder and emotional engagement that children bring to a learning experience. They then begin the journey of exploring, investigating, problem solving and trying out new ideas. Finally they are able to transform their existing understanding and knowledge through the new discoveries they have made.
The very same principles of learning apply to how children can understand and learn about money but children and families need access to the correct, interactive and engaging tools to make this possible.