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Make money health a family affair--part one

Money health isn't just for the parents. By easing stress caused by misunderstandings of family needs and money basics, Capital Region families can essentially make financial literacy a family affair. This three-part series will look at topics appropriate for youth in particular age groups.

Money learning can start early, as early as age three.
Money learning can start early, as early as age three.
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Financial Education: Ages 3-5

The first time your kids start asking you about money is the time to start building the foundation. The best place to start is by explaining what exactly money is! When you go to the store or eat out at a restaurant, show your kids what you’re doing so they see how money “works.” When you write a check or use the ATM at your bank, talk to your child about the different ways to use money. Explain that a check functions just like cash – as long as you have money in your account. Make every outing a learning adventure.

Keep It Concrete

  1. • Use cash around preschoolers – credit cards are too abstract.
  2. • Let them collect coins in a clear container so they see the money.
  3. • Show them that five pennies equal a nickel, etc.
  4. • Play age-appropriate games that build math skills. (One mother used her and her sons' interest in baseball to teach basic math by teaching the children to keep score of games.)

Communication is essential, and particularly around a topic that ranks as the number one stressor for Capital Region families.

Dave Balog teaches financial basics for Capital Region families. Click here or call 952-1257.