It never fails to astound me that financial literacy is not a subject that is taught in school. Given that 1.53 million Americans declared bankruptcy in 2010, one would think this would be a top priority for our education system. Granted the economy had a lot to do with this staggering number, but the reality is that most kids are never taught the basics of saving and budgeting. As parents, we need to be proactive about instilling a healthy and responsible attitude toward money in our children.
So how do we do that? Sadly, there really aren’t a lot of resources out there for parents. But there are a few books and websites that are tackling the issue and providing parents with the tools they need to raise financially literate kids.
Author and educator, Daniel Britton, has created a series of books on this subject called the Financial Fairy Tales. There are three books in the series, as well as an activity book designed to teach children about money and the values and skills necessary for responsible money management. The activity book is described as a complete home study course for children. The series is available in print, or via Kindle.
This website provides tools to help parents teach children to manage money wisely and develop good financial habits: the building blocks for a secure future. While it is designed primarily for families, there is a section for educators, too. For kids, there is a section on earning, saving, spending, and giving. For tweens, the site also covers the topics of owing, tracking, investing, and safeguarding. For children in 6th through 12th grade.
Of course, it’s never too early to start teaching your children about money and money management. That’s why Sesame Street has created the parent toolkit, “For Me, For You, For Later.” Available in English and Spanish, this multimedia program uses some of your child’s favorite characters from Sesame Street to learn about things like helping others, making choices, and other related topics. The toolkit also offers free printables, as well as pages for parents and educators. Best for children ages 6 and under.
I was surprised at how few books on this subject I could find on Amazon. Most are geared for older children like The Everything Kids’ Money Book: Earn it, save it, and watch it grow! by Brette McWhorter Sember. This book, will teach kids all they need to know about the money they earn so they can save or spend it wisely. This edition includes completely new material on online banking, opening a bank account, and saving allowance. Best suited for children ages 9 and up.
For younger children, try Money Mama & The Three Little Pigs by Lori Mackey. This read-aloud book introduces the basics of sound money management and helps children develop a positive money attitude. Featuring whimsical illustrations and engaging child friendly explanations, the book helps parents teach their kids the value of Giving, to help others, Investing for their futures, Saving for retirement and Spending their money wisely, the four components to abundant money management. Ages 3 to 5.
Monica Olivera Hazelton, NBC Latino contributor and the founder and publisher of MommyMaestra.com, a site for Latino families that homeschool, as well as families with children in a traditional school setting who want to take a more active role in their children’s education. She is the 2011 winner of the “Best Latina Education Blogger” award by LATISM.