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“Goat doh make sheep!”

Julia Holmes, the wife and mother in the TTMF puppet family, has some advice to share about the importance of showing a good example to your children and encouraging good financial habits from a young age.

Like father, like son. Like mother, like daughter.

Our daughter Kelly surprises me every day with her wit and thoughtful nature. I am often surprised when I remember that she is only six years old! This morning before heading to school she ate her cereal and milk for breakfast as usual. Then, instead of rushing to leave, she stopped and washed her bowl! I watched and smiled – because I always tell her it’s important to clean up after yourself. She has seen me do the dishes every day and her habits are starting to resemble my own. I really thought to myself that “Goat doh make sheep”!

Kelly learns from her father as well. Clyde works in construction and likes to make his own projects here at home. Seeing her father work at these projects, from a minor renovation at home, to repairing the kitchen sink, Kelly admires his work. This past Christmas, she even asked for a set of toy tools for her Christmas present!

Setting a financial example

One of the most important things Clyde and I have always made sure to teach Kelly, is the development of responsible financial habits. Some may think that six years old is too young to start, but we think it is never too early to teach something so important.

We began with the concept of saving. Whenever there is a major item that I’d like to purchase, I make sure to put away the money in advance. Kelly has often seen me put money aside for things and to help her grow this habit herself, we gave her a piggy bank. This helped turn a topic that might be difficult for a child, into a fun lesson which she can relate to. When she has enough coins and dollar bills saved up in her piggy bank, she is allowed to choose a small toy or book. This way, Kelly learns that it often takes time for the money to add up to enough to purchase something, and shows her the importance of patiently saving over time to get the things she wants. She even says now that she wants to start putting away for a house.

Financial exercises and games

Here are some fun ways to help teach your kids about money and saving. I hope you try some of them with your kids!

  • Pretend Spending: Play ‘grocery’ with your kids at home and use pretend money so they can start to understand what financial transactions are like and how they work.
  • A Saving Challenge: Challenge your kids to save a specific (and reasonable) amount of money in a timeframe such as a month.
  • Monopoly: This traditional board game is a fun way to get the children thinking about money and spending in a safe environment

Source for financial exercises and games: