It is more than likely your summer months are set to be full of activity. Suddenly finding yourself with a child (if not more) to keep entertained is a full-time task. With the summer holidays in full swing, their minds frequently turn to important topics like ‘Alton Towers or Thorpe Park?’ and ‘what am I going to buy for my holiday?’ Expensive stuff right?
Well, if you can capture their attention for long enough, summer is the perfect time to teach children and teens about money. A savvy parent can slip financial learning into any activity in a way that kids will find fun. Here is a list of the unlikely activities you can turn into lessons about financial management this summer.
Every time you find yourself in a queue for an ice-cream this summer, use it as an opportunity to teach your child a valuable lesson about saving. Getting them to understand that an ice-cream costs a pound, and if they have one today, tomorrow and on Saturday, that’s three pounds. Get them to think of something more expensive they really want. Now explain if they don’t have five ice-creams in a row, they could afford it.
For teens it’s about making choices. As every adult knows, you have to sacrifice some little things in order to achieve larger financial goals. Use this ice-cream van queue to remind them about the things they are saving for. Instant gratification will only last so long – whereas, something they have been saving up for, will feel like a larger reward. Valuable lesson, simple exercise.
A trip to the zoo
Ahh, the zoo gift shop. How many soft toy penguins can they possibly want? Well, this is the perfect place to get children thinking about value for money. Get your child to pick two soft-toy penguins, lions or whichever animal is their favourite - and understand which one is more expensive. Is it worth paying extra for that soft-toy (if it’s REALLY fluffy, then maybe it is) or should they go for the cheaper option?
Older children and teens can equally benefit from this exercise. Ask them questions about what the souvenirs are made of and get them to evaluate how much they would have cost to produce and what they would consider good value for money.
Your week in Spain
One of the most important lessons for a child or teen to learn about money, is making sure it lasts and you’re not left struggling. Simply giving your child their Euros at the beginning of your holiday and explaining to them that they must make it last a week to pay for their own ice-creams, drinks and postcards is a great way for them to learn about good money management.