Money, money, money! It seems like it’s on everyone’s minds all the time. But did you know that many parents would rather talk to their kids about sex than money? Money has become such a taboo topic these days. I knew I wanted to start teaching my kids about money as soon as possible but I wasn’t sure how to start. When I don’t know how to explain things to my kids, I turn to books. Here are three of my favorite books to teach kids about money.
Curious George Saves His Pennies by Margaret and H. A. Rey
My boys both love Curious George books so when I saw this one while on a trip to Boston, I had to grab it. Who doesn’t love Curious George? Curious George decides that he wants a special red train so he saves his money so he can buy it. When the time comes that George has saved enough money, he loses his piggy bank! I won’t spoil the surprise and tell you what happens but it’s a great lesson about taking good care of your money.
I started reading this to my kids when they were three and five but I think even younger kids would enjoy it because of the delightful illustrations of George and his friends.
Just Saving My Money by Mercer Mayer
This book is from the adorable Little Critter series. Like Curious George, Little Critter wants to buy himself a new toy, a skateboard. He asks his dad what kinds of jobs he can do around the house to earn more money to buy his skateboard. He feeds the dog and sells lemonade. There’s a really cute scene where his dad takes him to the bank to deposit his money and Little Critter gets worried that he won’t see his money ever again.
When Little Critter goes to buy his skateboard the story takes a twist. He doesn’t lose his money like George but he doesn’t buy his skateboard either. I’ll let you be surprised when you read the book! My boys enjoy this book now at five and seven years old but they also loved it when they were younger.
Money Smart Kids by Gail Vaz-Oxlade
This book is for parents. It’s a short book at around 80 pages but it contains tons of helpful information from determining allowances at different ages, how to make saving a habit, how to teach kids about credit card debt, and how to balance multiple money goals. Gail has a no nonsense approach that I love.
Two of my favorite tips from Gail’s book are about allowances and credit cards. She says that an allowance shouldn’t be so large that you are going to be upset when your child loses it. The point of an allowance is to let your child manage their own money so you have to be prepared for them to lose their money at some point.
When it comes to credit cards, Gail has a great tip for teaching your kids how they work. When they ask to borrow money from you, create a pretend credit card out of cardboard or laminated paper. Tell them that if they pay back the money before the month is up, they can pay you what they owe you but if they take longer, you’ll charge interest at the going credit card rate (usually about 20%) every month until they pay you back.
What are your favorite resources for teaching kids about money? I’d love to hear about them in the comments and if you read any of these books, please come back and let me know what you think of them.