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Infant - Month #46

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Big Savings For Little Bankers

By Lindsey Hill, edHelperBaby

Your Little Consumer
           "Mom, can you get me that? It's so cool!" Children want everything that interests them at any given moment and often don't want to wait. This is why it's important to teach children at an early age the importance of money by saving, giving, and spending wisely.  Teaching children to make clear choices about money early in life encourages a lifetime of positive habits.


An Eye On The Issue
           Three-year-olds think of money in very concrete terms. Therefore, creating visual, hands-on, and repetitive learning opportunities for money saving is essential and must begin yesterday. Starting small and keeping things simple will make learning about money fun, exciting and encourages your child to set goals for his efforts. Providing a reward once those goals are met is also necessary. Keep in mind, however, that young children haven't exactly mastered the concept of time, so money saving tips must be for immediate needs or wants rather than a college savings plan.


Just Try It
           Beginning with $1 for each year of age, a weekly allowance is a great beginning point for your three-year-old. Work together to create a list of chores he will do throughout the week. Print or draw pictures of the chores and add to a chart that is clearly visible throughout his day. Now make a list of the things your child wants to buy with his weekly allowance. Print off the computer, cut out magazine pictures, or draw pictures of each item and add them to a notebook, arranging them from most wanted to least wanted. Or simply tape the pictures to your child's money saving containers. Now set up three clear plastic containers with coin slots cut into the lids. Using a permanent marker, label the containers with "save," "spend," and "give." Discuss these categories with your child and their importance to creating a lifelong skill of money management. Keep the containers where your child can visibly see them. As your child earns money, direct him to place the money in the containers equally. At the end of the month, empty the contents of the containers and with your child in tow, donate the "give" container to a local charity, set up a savings account for your child to place the "save" money, and review your child's notebook of wanted items with him. Allow him to choose one item to splurge with his "spend" money or encourage him to set aside the money for a bigger, more expensive craving later. (This is a great time to discuss the differences between needs, wants, and wishes.) It's also important to allow your child to make the purchase using his own money. Children will often think twice before giving their entire stash to someone else.


Parent Chit Chat
           A trip to the grocery store with Cory will always result in a "Can I get a surprise?" scenario. It's very frustrating, and I'm certain we've created a monster. Being the first-born child in our family and the first grandchild on my husband's side of the family, Cory has always received anything he wanted. We often use toys and other surprises as bribery for good behavior at the store and found it worked for that moment, but he would certainly act up during the next shopping trip. Recently, we've made a few changes to our bribery tactics because Cory, in our eyes, seemed very unappreciative and certainly hadn't learned the value of a dollar. We simply gave a few of the ideas listed below a try and our success shows a more grateful three-year old with thoughtfulness and caring built in, too!
  • Three containers/banks labeled with save, spend, and give
  • Chore chart with reward stickers and small allowance
  • Allowance matched dollar for dollar to encourage saving and giving more
  • Garage sale with his items: save one-third of the money, spend one-third, and give one-third to a local library for new books
  • U.S. Savings Bonds
  • Savings bank account
  • Football or other creatively-shaped piggy bank
  • Coin collecting using U.S. state quarters


Book Basket
           Open the pages of these unique books aimed for infants to age five!

       The Coin County book is especially engaging because its pages allow a child to deposit money into the slots; once the book is full of coins, your child will have saved $20.
  • A Chair for My Mother; Vera B. Williams
  • You Can't Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime; Harriet Ziefert
  • Money, Money, Honey Bunny; Marilyn Sadler
  • Arthur Breaks the Bank; Marc Brown
  • Berenstain Bears' Dollars and Sense; Stan and Jane Berenstain
  • Coin County: A Bank in a Book; Ikids; Jim Talbot
  • Charlotte's Piggy Bank; David McKee
  • Sweet Potato Pie; Kathleen D. Lindsey
  • My First Musical Piggy Bank Book; Charles E. Reasoner
  • Just a Piggy Bank; Mercer Mayer
  • Money Mama and the Three Little Pigs; Lori Mackey
  • It's a Habit, Sammy Rabbit!; Sam X. Renick


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