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An age-by-age guide to teaching your kids about the value of money

Teaching your kids about money early in life can help them to learn healthy financial habits that'll last a lifetime.

An age-by-age guide to teaching your kids about the value of money

Teaching your kids about money early in life can help them to learn healthy financial habits that'll last a lifetime. The more knowledge they know, the better they can make monetary decisions, whether it's buying a toy they want or saving for college. But it can be a tough concept to explain.

With so many Americans already suffering from financial stress of their own, the idea of passing on knowledge to your own children can seem even more daunting. But, it's never too early to start teaching them the fundamentals of finances. Here are some tips and concepts for talking to your kids about money—from toddler and beyond.

Teaching young children

Kids are very adept at picking up both verbal and nonverbal cues about how their parents are handling the finances at home so it's important to keep that in mind as you bring up finances

Be mindful of discussing money out loud

If you spend time worrying about money or bickering with your partner about upcoming bills at home, kids are able to pick up on the stress you're feeling. For many children, their attitudes towards money later in life are mostly formed by the time they're 7 years old.

That means that your little ones are not only learning how you interact with money but are forging behaviors they'll likely continue for years to come. While it's okay to discuss money around your children, try to pass down positive attitudes you'd like them to adopt, not ones you'd like them to avoid.

Never too early to teach savings

Saving as an adult usually looks like a separate bank account you transfer money to each month. For kids, money is a lot more visual.

The best way to help them understand the concept of saving is to use a jar that lives in a visible place, so they can watch money being put away and spent at a later date. If they get an allowance or a gift, show them how to put savings away first.

Buying and selling

In addition to saving in a common space at home, children are also learning at an early age how to exchange things of value. Use this as an opportunity to show them how they can exchange money for goods and services.

You can trade helping to pick up their toys for extra play time later or show them how the money you're saving in the living room can be used to buy groceries or things for the home.

Preteens

Allowances

Many parents start offering allowances as their children start to enter middle school. Instead of giving your kids an allowance just as a weekly or monthly spending stipend, consider using it as a way for kids to earn it as a reward in exchange for doing chores.

An allowance can be a flexible amount that increases as kids take on more chores. Teaching the value of a dollar is an age-old concept, but it never stops being relevant.

Understanding needs vs. wants

For many preteens, this is the first time they start to recognize that others may have more than they do. This is the perfect age to start explaining the difference between wants and needs.

When you're in the store and your children are asking for a new video game or piece of clothing, instead of just tossing it into the cart, talk to them about whether it's something that's really important to them or if it's an impulsive financial purchase.

Understanding the difference between wants and needs can help kids make sound financial choices later in life.

Larger savings plans

By the time your kids are in middle school, they likely have a fair understanding of how money works and their opinions about how to spend and save are already starting to form. Instead of letting children use their entire allowance to make big purchases, offer to match their savings up to a certain amount—similar to a 401k with an employer.

Teens

High school years are the final step before your kids make it out into the world on their own. Their financial fundamentals are well underway and it's time to help them start learning how to make and use their own money.

Encourage summer jobs

Teenage years are a great time for kids to start finding a summer job to supplement their allowance or gifts that they get throughout the year. While the familiar summer jobs, like working at grocery stores or retail, are still popular, there are many opportunities for older kids to make an income online or by getting entrepreneurial on their own.

Use a summer job not only as an opportunity to start the conversation about budgeting and finances but also about the responsibility of earning money and saving it.

Saving for college

With student loan debt on the rise, taking on big college loans can seem scary. Talk to your kids about how they can start saving for college while they're still in high school and use the money they're earning from a summer job to get a head start. You should also educate them about how loans work and the eventual payback process so that they understand borrowing money now means you could pay more later.

Keep the conversations going

Although they can be difficult, conversations about finances are important to have with your high school-aged kids. Before they leave for college or jump into the workforce, helping them understand their own relationship with money can help them succeed both when they first make it out into the world and for decades to come.

Encourage them to ask questions when it comes to money and create a safe environment where they can come to you about it.

No matter how old your children are, it's important to show them that a strong understanding and relationship to their personal finances can help them succeed later in life. This starts with passing on positive behaviors for them to follow at a young age and then having financial conversations with them as they get older.

Learning about money is an ongoing pursuit and there are lessons to be learned at every step of the way.

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Nuna

New mama life is often fraught with decision fatigue. From choosing a pediatrician to choosing a baby monitor, it can be difficult to know which solutions are made to last. Fortunately, Nuna just made one very important decision a lot easier. That's because their new MIXX Next Stroller has everything a new parent needs to get out, get around and get everything done.

An upgraded version of their popular MIXX stroller, the MIXX Next features a more compact fold (shaving 6.5 inches off the folded size, down to 27.5 inches long and 23.6 inches wide) thanks to a compact fold-away axle where the rear wheels tuck under the frame when it folds. Plus, the new model also stays standing when folded—meaning no more back-straining as you bend to pick up your folded stroller and heave it into the trunk. Instead, the MIXX Next can be tucked more easily into storage whenever your ride comes to an end.


Nuna Mixx Next Stroller


Speaking of the ride, your little one will love the new rear-wheel Free Flex suspension™ and front-wheel progression suspension technology that absorbs more shock as you roll over uneven terrain. The wheels have also been updated to tough, rubber foam-filled tires for a smoother, more durable ride and the no re-thread harness makes it easy to clip your baby in securely and quickly. And when all those gentle bumps lull your baby to sleep? The seat features a five-position recline that adjusts quickly with one-hand—all the way down to a true-flat sleeper recline—just don't forget to move them to their crib when you arrive home. (Don't forget to extend the water repellent, UPF 50+ canopy to keep those sleepy eyes shaded.) Even better, the all-season seat keeps baby cozy in winter and unsnaps to mesh for a cooler ride in the summer.

Perhaps most importantly, though, this stroller is made to last. (After all, what's the point of solving a mama dilemma if it creates another one a few months down the road?) The MIXX Next pairs perfectly with all Nuna PIPA™ series infant car seats using the included car seat ring adapter, and then adapts to a child seat that can face toward you (for a little face time) or forward for when your little one is ready to take on the world. All in all, this stroller gets you where you need to go with a child up to 50 pounds, meaning it's the only one you'll ever need.

The MIXX Next is available in three colors and retails for $749.95.

This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

Stylish storage cabinet

Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

White board calendar + bulletin board

With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

Bamboo storage drawers

The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

Laminated world map

I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.

Letterboard

From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

Expandable tablet stand

Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

Neutral pocket chart

Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

Totable fabric bins

My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

Work + Money

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Happiest Baby: Baby sleep solutions designed by the experts

Created by renowned pediatrician, baby sleep expert and (as some might say) lifesaver Dr. Harvey Karp, Happiest Baby has been helping new parents understand and nurture their infants for close to two decades. Building on the success of his celebrated books and video The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block he's developed groundbreaking, science-based product solutions that conquer a new parent's top stressor—exhaustion.

WSEL Bags: Dad-designed diaper bags that think of everything

WSEL stands for work smart, enjoy life—an ethos we couldn't agree with more. Founded by a stay at home dad who struggled to find a diaper bag that he not only wanted to use, but one that would last far beyond the baby years, these premium, adventure-ready backpacks are ideal for everything from errands to week-long getaways.

Codex Beauty: Exceptionally effective sustainable skin care

Codex Beauty's line of sustainable plant-based skin care blends the science of plant biology with biotech innovations, to create clinically proven, state-of-the-art products for all skin types. They're all vegan, EWG and Leaping Bunny verified and created in collaboration with Herbal Scientist Tracy Ryan who uses concepts dating back to the 8th century leveraging plants like sea buckthorn and calendula flower. Not only are we totally crushing on the innovative formulas that are in the packaging but we're in love with the sustainable sugarcane-derived tubes as well.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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