By Jenna Townson
What was the first thing you bought with your own money? For me, it was a sketch pad and professional paints. It’s fun to spend your hard-earned money on something you enjoy. And then you grow up and suddenly that money needs to be spent on practical things like housing, gas, and other bills. Now that I have more finances to worry about than art supplies, I’m thankful for the lessons I was taught as a kid about handling money.
Here are four simple ideas for you on teaching kids about money management.
First, include kids in giving. Even though kids can’t work a regular job or do a monthly budget, you can start giving them a positive attitude toward giving by finding simple ways for them to participate. It should be personal to your situation and to your relationships with the kids. You may want to set a fundraising goal for a missionary or friend in need, with the kids in your family, Sunday school, or after-school Good News Club®. You could decide on a fun reward for meeting the goal, like dumping a bucket of water on a teacher of their choice or choosing a special snack.
As you give, you can tell kids something like this, “To thank God for providing for us, we give a part of what we earn back to God.” You can also read stories from missionary newsletters to help kids see how God uses giving to bless others. Consider where you can let kids help you make decisions about your giving. For example, they can help you choose which missions organization to send a gift to. These are simple ways to teach kids about giving and it gives you an opportunity to show how God wants us to be cheerful givers.
My second idea is to teach kids about money through Bible stories. You can make these stories fun by including interactive actions and props.
For example, you can teach kids about trusting God to provide through the story in Matthew 17:24-27, where Jesus miraculously provides money through a coin found in a fish’s mouth. For this story, you’ll need toy fish and pennies. Put the pennies in the toy’s mouth. Then let the kids “find” the coin in the fish.
Another story you can use is the wise and foolish servant in Mathew 25. This story teaches kids how God wants us to use wisdom with money. You can have the kids pretend to handle the money like the servants did. Have the kids pretend to invest, spend, and bury the money. You can simply pretend together or use toys and props to make it more interactive.
The third idea is to hire kids for odd jobs. This could be done at home or for a neighbor. I know plenty of kids who would happily walk a dog, mow a yard, or help clean up a garage for some extra cash. Doing these odd jobs that are different from everyday chores can help show kids that work is valuable. It also teaches them how they can glorify God in their work. Ask kids open-ended questions like, “How can you give glory to God by mowing Mrs. Smith’s lawn?” Chat with them about whatever job they’re doing and see what they come up with.
Finally, help them plan for savings and fun expenses as well as giving. When they receive or earn money, one percentage goes to giving, another to savings and another can be for spending. I’ve seen a kid’s bank with three compartments to help children divide their income. They can make or find banks to make these deposits fun. Help them plan their goals and rejoice when they meet them. Help the naturally frugal child feel okay about spending when the goal is reached and receiving the purchased item as a gift from God. This process is a great way to teach kids wise, godly attitudes and habits with money.
These principles about money will spill over in other attitudes about life. This is why the Bible talks so much about money. There are at least 2,300 verses on money, wealth and possessions. Jesus spoke about money roughly 15% of his preaching and 11 out of 39 parables. It was his most talked about topic!
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