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Do any other fellow parenting rainmakers find themselves letting off a sigh that is both relieved and weary when it comes to school holidays?

Because while it’s nice to have a bit of a break from the whirlwind that is the daily school run, many of us instead face juggling our working life with keeping the kids occupied for at least two weeks.

If you’ve experienced this, I don’t think I need to tell you that it can be a challenge to say the least. However on the plus side, it is also an opportunity to get the kids interested in something new. 

And while I don’t think we could quite get a baby to delve into Cash is Queen, we should absolutely start as early as we can when it comes to teaching kids about money management. 

So rather than sharing one of those all too familiar lists of things to keep the kids busy, here are ten ways that you can make use of downtime during the school holidays (and beyond!) to start getting kids of various ages engaged in their finances: 

  1. Talk. Start by asking them what they already know. Then take the opportunity to fill in the blanks. Unless we tell them, how can kids have a proper understanding of money, where it comes from, and how important knowing how to manage it is? Explain the ins and outs of income, expenses, budgeting, investing, credit and debit cards. Basically everything you wish you’d known when you were younger and importantly some of the mistakes you made along the way.
  2. Introduce them to the world of personal finance through books – Needless to say, (but i will say it anyway!) for the 10-16 year old girls in your life, Cash is Queen is a great first step to teaching them how to manage their money and covers so much more than just counting your pennies. It includes chapters on being mindful of the company you keep and how that influences our relationship with money, how to avoid being financially influenced by social media and the red flags to look out for (a huge problem for this age group), money mindset as well as technical money principles too like investing.
  3. Give them some control – If they’re old enough, set up an age-appropriate bank account for them, explain how it works and supervise them in holding the reins. Similarly, if you’ve set up a JISA or some sort of investment for your kids, why not explain it to them, and within reason let them get involved with investing decisions? Knowing that it is their money and they have some degree of control over it could help make them far more engaged.
  4. Let them make their own money choices. Of course if this means they rush to spend every penny on the latest fad or game, then maybe rein them in. However, do think about giving them access to a small amount of cash and let them decide how they are going to save, invest or spend it, and the consequences that will follow their decision. They’ll probably need some guidance but could also learn some important money lessons along the way….
  5. Set a saving goal. If there’s something they really want that is a bit pricey, why not give them the challenge if saving for it themselves? Let them set a weekly or monthly saving goal, and work towards it.
  6. Give them a chance to earn. Are there certain tasks or chores that you can ask kids or complete in exchange for cash? As much as saving goals, learning about investing etc can teach them about finances, everyone needs to understand the challenges of earning your own money.
  7. Let them practice sticking to a budget. This might be one for slightly older kids but give them a monthly budget or “salary” that they have to stick to. You can help them track their spending and income, and help them to understand that once the money is spent, it’s spent.
  8. Teach them the value of looking to themselves. With social media, mobile phones and more, kids are just as likely to feel compelled to keep up with the Joneses as adults. Kids can be gently encouraged to see the value in stepping back from the barrage of information and finding contentment with themselves, and what they have beyond material things.
  9. Play! It doesn’t all have to be serious! Especially with younger ones, games like Monopoly, Payday and Game of Life are a really nice introduction to the power of saving spending and managing money. If you’re not a board game fan, there are a number of online games and apps that can also make learning about money management fun.
  10. Lead by example.  Kids learn to emulate what they see. If they are able to witness the adults around them practising good money management skills, it’s that bit easier to encourage them to learn to do the same.