A few years ago there was a Barclays Bank advert suggesting that parents should pay by cash when they are out with their family. In fact, they went a step further by asking parents to get their children to pay with cash. Their suggestion would help to teach children the value of buying items and how to use money correctly. Since Covid-19 the world has moved on a lot. Now-a-days we often can’t pay cash, limiting the places we can model good money behaviour. However, do we only need to teach children about coins and notes, or does good financial management go deeper than that? I would say so!

As a teacher I have noticed a continual decline of our children’s understanding of money; including the value of items and the need to save. Some young people spend money easily and believe that funds will always be available. When they see their parents paying by alternative payment methods they do not associate the transaction with the money leaving their bank account. Hence the belief that money is unlimited. There is also a common belief that the younger generation are given anything they ask for, thus not understanding the need to save to buy an item and value its worth.

What can we do to teach children about money?

Firstly, the question needs to be asked, how can we emphasise to our children the value of money and the power that it can hold over both us and our future?

Personally, for younger children I like Barclay’s advice, encouraging children to work with the actual coins and notes; waiting for the change, if needed, and checking it before they leave the counter. Surely this is a worthy and important skill to learn; however, is this necessary for the future? Admittedly, we will be a cashless society sooner rather than later. So, with banks closing and online banking a way of life, why do we need to teach them about cash?

I challenge you all to ask yourselves, does your child know the value of money? Do you teach them how to use and save money effectively? Do they understand that sometimes you can’t always afford a new toy, or to go out for lunch? Do they earn money for a job or is it just given to them? Importantly, how do they see you earning, valuing, and respecting the money you have?

Resources

Thankfully banks are now offering advice and games to help children reconnect with money. Examples of these are on the Barclays and Natwest websites for everyone to access and are well worth looking at.

The way we earn, spend and save money is changing all of the time, so it is vital to protect our children by providing them with the knowledge of how to be successful with money.

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