Teaching Children About Money

Set up your child for financial success with money lessons

Is teaching children about money possible? Well, children are smart…they are actually smarter than we give them credit for. Look around you? What is your child capable of that shocks you and has you wonder just how super brilliant they are? I have an almost 3-year-old who takes my phone and is able to unlock it without a sweat.

Research has also shown that a child can learn a foreign language faster than an adult because their mind is open. Their minds are not populated with many issues so they soak in new things like a sponge and I confirm that this is indeed the best time to teach principles that will last them a lifetime!

The world that we live in has totally changed. We cannot run away from that fact and we cannot deny it. We now live in a global village and our children are getting exposed to things that we didn’t get to know about until we were at university level. Right now they are required to compete not just with their peers in the neighborhood but with the rest of the world.

How do we ensure that we set them up for success? As parents, how can we encourage them to think globally? What can we do to write the script that is our children’s lives so that the outcome is successful?

There are many ways to do this and there have been very many solutions put forward. But experience over time has shown that the most effective one is through training. The sponges that our children are predispose them to making the most of their training. It is my assertion that if we are to be the authors of our children’s lives and we’re expecting a best seller book, that we determine what skills they require to be successful in life.

What therefore should we ensure we train them in?

Since we keep on grappling with high unemployment rates and with the universities keeping on churning out graduates with no places of employment to take them in, the natural solution for this local problem is to train them in Entrepreneurship! Right?!

But how do you teach a 6-year-old about entrepreneurship?

Well……….. It’s all very simple. You start by exposing them to money. Yes! I’m talking about MONEY. And please note that money unfortunately teaching childen about money cannot be done in theory. You have to practically allow them to handle money. Start by showing them the different denominations; coins and notes. Allow them to get to understand that little money buys little things and big money buys big things. That in itself is a great lesson as through understanding that, they will stop pestering you about buying huge things like a bicycle using the coins in the coin box!

Pocket money experience

Think of when most of us encountered money for the first time. Highly likely as is usually the case, it was pocket money. For some the pocket money was plenty, for others not much. Either way, since we didn’t have any knowledge of it or the experience of working and earning it, we always ended up spending all of it and wanting more! And if we are all to be honest with ourselves, we still struggle with money issues as adults. Isn’t it therefore important to have our children well-grounded about money as early in life as possible?

“Where does money come from?”

Teaching children about money starts with getting them to understand what money is and where it comes from. Most of the children I have interacted with and taught, gleefully say money comes, “From the bank!” So the second most important thing is to teach them the work-money relationship. Money comes from Mummy or Daddy working. It doesn’t come from the bank or the ATM but from working!

Get them to understand that the money in the bank is only there because you, as a parent have put it in there. This opens up their minds to the fact that they have to work to earn money. They are 6 years old……what can a 6-year-old do? Any lesson or habit that you want to enforce, has to start early on in life and that’s why I advocate for beginning as early as possible. Do therefore figure out what work they can do and how they can earn their ‘own’ money.

Let us set up our children for financial success

The challenge I am putting out to all parents is – if we find it very necessary to train our children in soccer, music, other sports and artistic ventures very early on in life because we understand the value of an early start, why not expose them to money matters as young as they are…………….? Teaching children about money is important as we set them up for financial success.

Lucy Mwakaba is a passionate teacher and child trainer. She is a Program Manager at The Lead Child Foundation, an organization that trains children in leadership and financial literacy with a vision to develop ethical next generation leaders, to create wealth and impact communities at large. lucy.mwakaba@gmail.com www.theleadchild.org


  1. Lucy Mwakaba on February 13, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Wow …thanks for posting this! Contact us for more information on how to equip your child in both leadership and money matters!

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