National Family Week: Our Kids Need To Know About Money

BOSTON (CBS) – What a day to be out! This is the busiest shopping day of the year and I for one am staying far away from the malls. Far, far away! But even without me, millions of dollars will trade hands today.

Today is referred to as Black Friday. A good day will keep the retailers in the black.

Some of you are out shopping and you may have the kids with you in the car. As harried as you are right now why not give the kids a money lesson. If you get them alone in the car and you can get them to turn off their electronics including their cell phones you could have a captive audience.

Kids need to understand money and how we as adults get it into our hands. Tell a small child that you have no money to buy something and she will suggest charging it.

Kids also think that money comes from the ATM. Most kids have never been inside a bank, just the drive through or the ATM machine. And worse they think ATM stands for Always Taking Money.

Kids need to understand the concept of working for money, getting paid for that work, and depositing a paycheck into the bank for safekeeping. This gives us the privilege of going to the ATM to make withdrawals of our money so that we are able to purchase goods and services. Most 6-year-olds are able to grasp this concept.

A harder concept is charge cards and how they work. These are just short-term loans that we get when we use our credit card. If we pay if off each month, no interest is charged. The card is our form of identification to show the merchant that the credit card company has money set aside that we can borrow to make our purchases.

Teaching kids about delaying gratification is also important. We’ve all witnessed a kid throwing a tantrum in a store and then getting what he wanted. For starters, have the kid begin to save for something he wants like a game, a CD, or a scooter. Make it attainable in a couple of weeks; any longer than that and they will lose interest.

Now, if you want to take this one step further, offer to make the child a loan to help purchase it. Charge interest because that is the cost of borrowing. The child can pay you back a certain amount each week when he or she receives their allowance. Visit and use their calculator to figure out the loan payments.

Also visit Finance Freak  a division of Cool Math to help your teenagers become money smart.

Take whatever opportunities come up to make your kids money smart.

More from Dee Lee
  • emom

    how intrersting to see this very article, I have been doing just that teaching my kid about money matters, MONEY just doesnot grow on trees, and yes they beleive that peice of plastic is a cash cow,next to mom and dad.. So try esxplaining to most that we as adults must go to a job , work and earn money for what we do. ANother concept they can not grasp as some ages, Its not until teens years that they want to work and then get money BUT still can not save.. they blow their money in less than a weekend,, then scramble for dough to get things and ask poor mom and dad and yup their friends. Checking accounts heck they can not even get that. and never mind a debt card they would so overdraw the account and be further into to debt, some parents give their kids credit cards WHY.
    So I havedecided to make my kid by the stuff he wants and then when the money runs out no more, earn more money and then you can buy..Now we are working on savings, so far so good but its a huge learning curve. To many kids today graduate highschool with no idea on finacial stability, By the time the graduate college they are fully in debt and living on ramon noodles fir a very long time. Why cant schools, at least teach some of this in school, It would be a great way to teach not only math but responsiblility with having such funds. Start them off in elementary work in a school store and learn whats it is like to work and earn at the same time.

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