By Bethanie Musyoka, Business & Commercial Banking / Public Sector, Stanbic Bank
If you are like me, you probably had your first interactions with having a sense of controlling money when you went to Boarding school. And even then, this mostly involved a bursar keeping the money for you. If the bursar doubted your worthiness, you’d end up pleading your case with a shopping list of basics like plain bread and a soda.
When you see toddlers throwing tantrums in supermarkets over colourful treats while their parents struggle, you realise it’s a prime teaching moment. We can instil budgeting basics early on. Children as young as three can begin understanding basic money concepts. Even at this age, they grasp ideas like trading money for items at the store and following a shopping list.
Many money habits are set by age 7 to 9. These habits include planning ahead, budgeting, delayed gratification, and even returning borrowed items. What children observe and learn during their early years significantly influences their adult financial behaviour.
Counterintuitively, allowing kids to spend money and experience failures now can be beneficial. It provides an opportunity to teach them about saving and delayed gratification. These lessons lay the foundation for responsible money management later in life. Here are some easy financial education tips for 6-year-olds (even adaptable for 3-year-olds):
1. Introduce money: Explain it’s what we use to buy stuff earned through work, chores, or gifts.
2. Count money: Use real coins and notes for hands-on learning.
3. Give an allowance: Start small, teaching value and responsibility.
4. Teach charity: Show how giving back is essential.
5. Encourage saving: Help set goals and differentiate needs from wants.
6. Compare prices: Teach value for money.
7. Use a bank: Open a savings account and learn about deposits and withdrawals.
8. Talk debt: Explain borrowing and repayment.
9. Lead by example: Kids mimic adults, so watch your spending habits.
10. Play board games: International currency games can be both fun and educational.

While these tips might seem daunting, teaching kids about money early on has immense benefits. It’s an opportunity to impart life lessons and set them up for financial success in the future.
Happy parenting!

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