For children, there’s no time more magical than the holiday season. Making snow angles, building Snowmen, dreaming about Santa coming down the chimney and Rudolf leading the pack. This time of year is perfect for all the warm fuzzies and creative imaginations that fill our kid’s minds.
If you ask kids what their favorite part of the season is, you might not be surprised to hear “Winter break!” Time away from structure, school, and homework might be what they’re looking forward to most, but what if we can teach our kids some real-world examples of financial literacy this time of year without even really feeling like it’s a lesson plan?
The good news is, we can! Here are our top 3 ways to subtly teach kids about money this time of year:
Under the tree you might be wrapping up action figures, dolls, and winter clothes but what about that expensive new computer that your son wants? Turn it into an activity and talk to them about buying all of the parts for the computer and building it together! Not only will this teach your child about technology, it’s a great project to do as a family and spend quality time together. Throughout the process you can also sneak in conversations about the price of parts and how much you saved overall by doing this yourselves! Win-Win!
The Joy of Giving Back
This is the prime time of year for charitable giving. We all want to help those less fortunate around the holiday season. When you walk into stores, people are ringing bells and seeking contributions for the Salvation Army. Everyone is doing a toy drive, winter jacket drive, or seeking volunteers to help pass out holiday meals to the homeless. Talk to your kids about things they want to help with. Is it working with other children, is it faith-based work, is it helping the animals? Once they pick a cause they’re passionate about, consider donating money or time as a family to give back. Instilling these values early will help kids understand the importance of helping others and will encourage them to grow up with a charitable heart and mind.
Gifts That Keep on Giving
Do your kids hope to go to college one day? Do they have a 529 or UTMA account set up? If they do, talk to them about part of their Christmas presents going into these accounts to save for their education in the future.
What are your kids asking for this year? A new iPhone? A Nike Jacket? Explain to your children about these brands and consider purchasing some stock in the companies they care about. Even if it’s just a share or two, this gets the younger generation interested and involved with investing. Over time, as they earn their own money and their interests evolve, they can see their investments growing and have a better understanding of their finances when they enter their adult years.
The opportunities to make the holidays a learning experience for kids are endless, and the best part is that it doesn’t even feel like a lesson plan! This year, decide as a family what values you want to teach to your children, and find an activity or two to incorporate the lesson. After all, financial literacy is a gift that keeps on giving!
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.