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How to Teach Good Money Habits to Your Kids: Ages 3 - 6

written by: Karen Worthy•edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 4/28/2011

Did you ever wonder how to help kids handle money? Try these techniques to help your preschooler and kindergarten student understand the concept of money.

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    Help Them Recognize Coins and Bills

    After they have learned to count to ten, the next step is to teach them how to recognize what the different coins and paper bills mean. One method is to set up a table with a bunch of pennies and help them count out how many pennies it would take to equal a nickel, dime, quarter, and dollar. When you think they have gotten the concept, test them by giving them a choice of which they would rather have: 6 pennies or 1 nickel.

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    Use Play Money

    Play Money Purchase play money, or fake money, for them to use during their playtime. This will help them learn about the concept of money in general. If you don't want to purchase play money specifically for them, use Monopoly money or give them the change from your pocket.

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    Set Up a Pretend Store

    Kids love to play "pretend" and "make believe". Use this opportunity to play store with them. You can set up certain items from your house for them to "purchase" with the play money. Then, swap roles and have them act as the shop keeper and you can purchase items from them. This will teach the concept that money can be exchanged for goods.

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    Have Them Participate In Shopping

    At this age, they probably won't be able to count out the money when you go shopping, but they will be able to do certain things. For starters, have them hand the money to the clerk when the total order has been rung up. While it might seem like a little thing to you, it will get them involved and will help reinforce the concept that you are paying for something (such as groceries). Also, if you typically pay for items with a debit card, begin using cash when they are watching to help them understand the concept.

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    Give Them An Allowance

    Piggy Bank While they might seem a little young for an allowance, it is never too early for them to start to learn the concept of having their own money. Depending on their age, you should not make the allowance more than $1 - $3 per week. Then, help them decide whether they want to save their money (like in a piggy bank) or spend it on something at the store (like a candy bar or small toy).

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    Image Credits


    flickr/Identity Photogr@phy