Teaching Money to a Five Year Old

Inspired by this post by Indu

R is my only child. And she is 5.5 years. Like any 5 year old, she wants a lot of things. Chocolates, biscuits, juice, chips, games, dolls, and what not. And as parents, RD and I try to think we should satisfy every small wish of hers. Or not.

When R was younger, we used to take her with us to do the grocery shopping. but it was easier then, because she wasn’t exposed to too many products and stuff. But as she started growing older, she started asking for a lot of things. Every time we would go to the supermarket, we would return with some biscuits for her, or chips and stuff. I must admit, she never demanded too much, but when she demanded, RD would usually give in.

Until, one day, I realised, it was getting too much. I started telling her about how Amma and Appa are working all day for money, and getting everything is not really feasible and stuff in those lines.

Here are few things, which RD and I follow to help the brat learn the importance of money

1. Tell her the truth about money. We tell her honestly that we work hard to get the money by going to office, working there on the computer and stuff.

2. Teach her that ATM is not the money machine. We tell her that our boss puts money into the salary account of ours which we then take out from ATM

3. Show her the price tags of several goods now that she knows a bit about numbers and knows that 100 is more than 10. So I keep showing her the cost of various things and she realises that it costs money

4. Be absolutely honest with her when I can’t afford something she wants. A child in her daycare used to get Ipad (he was stopped after a couple of days thankfully!) and she asked us for one. I told her honestly that we cant afford an Ipad because it’s very expensive and Amma Appa don’t have so much money

5. Teach her that having less money doesn’t make us lesser people. Some are rich and some aren’t. That doesn’t make her a lesser person.

6. Also, we don’t take her to the supermarket very often. RD goes and does the monthly shopping by himself while she stays at home with me. One it helps to curb her temptations and two with the kind of crowd in the supermarket, her asthma could flare up, which is kept under control

7. Also books like this help in teaching children the value of money.

This is how we teach the brat about money…how about you?

Cross posted here


Also read about women I admire as a part of the Women’s Day celebration on IMC


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36 Responses to Teaching Money to a Five Year Old

  1. Tharani says:

    Wish someone teaches the importance of money to me and Av. We are not able to save a single penny.
    I don’t have a brat yet. Will come back and tell you okay that is only if we learn it first 😛

  2. Bingo's Mom says:

    I was shaking my head in dis belief, when I read some kid brought iPad to day care 😐

  3. Deeps says:

    Agree agree agree..thousand and one times agree with your views on teaching the value of money to your child. I have done a post on this topic and I think you know my views on this :). I am totally with you on being honest with your child about money. With Namnam too, we have had to draw lines and refuse her toys and stuff because we couldn’t afford it. She is told time and again that if she wishes for a toy or a dress or a gift for a friend, she has to earn it. Now she has set her eyes on this doll-house which she has already decided would be tagged ‘expensive’ by her parents, so she is saving up for it by helping out at home and ‘earning’ :).

    On a serious note, I feel it’s better to make your kids understand something, be it values, or a lesson for life, or answer their curious minds, by being honest to them than building a wrong impression around them only to disappoint them later.

  4. Smita says:

    These are such practical ideas re!!! So doable!!!! U r onw rockstar of a Mom 🙂

  5. ashreyamom says:

    i think talking to them in reality is best way to teach them.. there are so many kids who take it for granted that they would get everything they ask for as both parents are working..

  6. My dad says i was a nightmare to take to shops. I would just stare and stare at chocolates with starving eyes and my dad would have to buy because people would make him feel guilty. Hehe. But I learnt about savings and all pretty quick. I always had least monthly expenses amongst my friends and still do. My dad says i am very responsible. Tee hee. Of course I have done my share of sins, counting stealing money from parents. I feel ashamed, but that was a part of growing up and learning the importance of money. So, all in all, R is definitely on the right path, i think.

    • R's Mom says:

      Big pranams to your dad 🙂

      • Oooh, another point… I am pretty good about not losing or spoiling stuff cuz I know the importance of money, and everything I got was earned. Including cell phones, harry potters and Goa trip with my gals. 😀
        You can probably make R do that. Like earning the chocolate of the day if she tells you her good deed of the day. And she does help you out. So you can specify that she is a good girl so she deserves it.

  7. I follow these too RM. I want Chucky to grow responsible and she should know the importance of money. Great post.

  8. Very practical and do-able tips, RM. Will keep them in mind for the future. 🙂

  9. VJ says:

    This is exactly what I have told my little one too.. that we work hard to get money and we cant buy everything that he sees and wants. And also there is no space in the house for toys anymore.He now knows that he doesn’t get a toy just like that.. he needs to earn it.
    when it comes to food though, he doesn’t ask much ..so we don’t have any issues taking him shopping.

  10. D's Mom says:

    I guess, now than ever before, kids need to be taught the improtance of money AND savings….too many temptations these days. Making them aware about the prices is a great idea RM….will definitely implement with D when he grows up a bit :). Even the books you mentioned sound like a great idea. When we were kids, we got pocket money (Re 1, Re 2 :D), only for running errands around the house. It sure made us realise that money doesn’t grow on trees, you need to earn it and most importantly save up if you want to buy something (that is not deemed essential by the parents 🙂 )

    • R's Mom says:

      I never got pocket money as a kid honestly…ma pa used to tell us to ask them if we wanted anything..if it was feasible we got it, otherwise we didnt 🙂

      • D's Mom says:

        Oh ok. My sis and I “worked hard” to earn ours and were really proud when our piggy banks felt heavy. We used the money for only very special occassions, like buying gifts for our parents, each other and best friends on birthdays and anniversaries. Even today I still feel proud when I buy something with my own hard earned money 😀

  11. Comfy says:

    I do something very similar RM, just that I started a little early (Buzz was around 2 then). If we went to a grocery store and asked for something, I would simply say, ‘hummara nahein hei’. Candies and chips are not good for them and I made a point to say no. She quickly learned what we bought at the store and what she would not get.
    Then I started telling her about money. How D and I work really hard and get paid for it. And how everything costs money. Now a days if one of us is planning not to go to work she will push us, ‘go to work, we need money to buy plane tickets for our India trip’ 😀
    The general idea is that even when we can afford certain things, they don’t get it all just because they asked for it. As a parent, I am looking at what is good for them and saying no is part of my job description. So is explaining that it takes a lot of work to earn money and we have to spend it thoughtfully!

    • R's Mom says:

      You are one of my ideals as far as parenting is concerned comfy…if I can be even 1/4th as a good and balanced mom as you, I think I will do a good job raising R 🙂

  12. kinmin says:

    I have been reading your blog for years, but hardly ever comment.. But I have to say that if and when I ever have kids, I’m definitely going to refer to your blog for some awesome parenting advice! 🙂

  13. Pepper says:

    I can imagine how hard it is to impart these values in this day and age, RM. When I was growing up, my parents didn’t shop at supermarkets – so I wasn’t as exposed to the million temptations that existed. We didn’t even have so many temptations in those days, I think. It was more like going to the local grocer every month. At most, I would ask for a packet of Peppy. It wasn’t often, so they usually got it for me.

    Another thing my parents did was allow me to collect my own money from the age of 5. They would give me coins every now and then. I saved them in my piggy bank. This also taught me how to add, multiply and subtract. It took me a long, long time to collect Rs. 100. So when I usually saw something worth 100 Rs, I would understand just how difficult it is to gather/earn that. I am guessing you already do this with R. If not, maybe you can consider it 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      Ohhhh thats a lovely idea..so we do give some coins to R to put it in the piggy bank..but I dont think we have emphasised on the concept of collecting it to a lumpsum and getting something for herself..may be I should start doing that..thanks for the idea Pepper 🙂

      and I really HAVE to meet your mother 🙂

  14. Ashwathy says:

    A child in her daycare got iPad??!!! 😯 What is WRONG with parents today!!! 😛 Sheesh!

    The world is a much scarier and more competitive place now. It’s so difficult to instill the right ideas and values in kids and bring them up. 😐

    BTW me back in the blogging scene now 🙂 Hope to be more regular from now on…

  15. rubberpal says:

    Good that you practice these sessions with R 😉

  16. kash says:

    A five year kiddo bringing IPad , an IPad to daycare! what happened to good old kiddie games and toys like dolls and cars ? how can parents even allow the kid to carry such things ?

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