How do I teach my child about money?

At this age, most children are able to understand that money can be used in different ways. Now’s a great time to teach your child about saving, spending, and giving. You can create three jars and label them “save,” “spend,” and “give.” When your child receives or earns money, help him or her divide the money into those three jars. Establish early on whether money should be divided evenly (which is easiest to compute), or in some other fashion (e.g., 10% to spending), and be prepared to make change to enable your child to divide his or her earnings accordingly. Research a cause that you and your child would like to support with the “give” money, and be clear about what your child is “saving” for (e.g., college, summer camp, etc.). The “spend” category is for your child’s discretionary spending, and you will quickly see whether your child enjoys watching his or her spending money grow over time, or whether your child likes to spend as soon as he or she receives it. Discuss the pros and cons of waiting for something that is really desired versus spending on smaller items immediately.

Clement Chau, Ph.D.

LeapFrog Learning Expert

As the children and media expert on the Learning Team, Clement primarily works on toys and digital products related to social studies, creativity, life skills and early childhood development. Before joining LeapFrog, he was an early education consultant, a media literacy researcher at the MIT Comparative Media Studies department, a researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston, and a researcher and lecturer at the Tufts University Developmental Technologies Research Group. Clement received his PhD from Tufts University's Eliot Pearson Department of Child Development and completed his dissertation on evaluating children's mobile apps.