Are five year olds too young to learn about money?

April 22, 2013 by

When I tell people that I teach kids and youth financial literacy, they ask me at what age do I start. A lot of times after I explain that the workshops start with age five, I get skeptical stares and sometimes even a comment “Well, I can see older kids learning about that, but I just think it is too much for the little ones.”

The question I have is “IS IT??? Is it really too much for our five year olds to learn about money and financial literacy?” They are smart enough to play a video game and work a remote control for TV, but yet we don’t think they are capable to grasp the very basics of financial literacy?!

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A friend of mine told me that she was buying an iPad just for her two and a half year old, because he loves her iPad so much and plays with it all the time so she and the rest of her family can not get their hands on it. Two and a half year old!!! This got me thinking - why are we doubting the capability of our five year olds to understand the basics of money when their brains are clearly able to figure out how technology works.

Parents know, deep down inside that our kids are smart and that they are able to learn anything. I believe that some of us don’t want to teach them about money, because it is not a fun topic to discuss. Money management reminds people of bills that have to be paid on time, choosing between wants and needs, not going into further debt unnecessarily, etc. Where is the fun in all this? Who wants to be burdening and boring our little ones with this dull material? They are kids, so let them be kids and enjoy their childhood without thinking about money until they grow up and start making some.

Although I agree that kids should be kids and have fun and not worry about adult stuff, I still believe that sometimes we have to teach things that will benefit them in the long run. For example, how soon do some parents teach their kids manners? Most parents start when their children are babies with simple “Please” and “Thank you”.  What about personal hygiene? Again the parents start very early in the baby stage. Is teaching manners and hygiene fun for kids? Probably not. They probably don’t like it and do not understand the purpose of it and how helpful it will be for them to have grasped these skills when they are adults. I know my children get irritated and ask why I think I am the boss of them and have the right to tell them to wash their hands after viagraforhealthyman they use the washroom. Sometimes as parents we make our children do things that are good for them even though they may not necessarily see the benefit at that moment.

As for teaching basics of financial literacy to the kids, it is a new concept, so it is natural that some parents struggle with it. However, it does not need to be boring. The learning material can be fun and the kids can enjoy it. It is all in the approach and ensuring that the kids are taught only age appropriate material. At the end of the day teaching them financial literacy is doing them a favour in the long run.

 

1 Comment

  1. Wanda Thibodeaux

    I totally agree this has to start early. I'm using books, piggy banks, chore charts, http://www.bankaroo.com and other tools to get my kids going. I let them help at the grocery store. They are 3 and 4.