Year 2020: The longest summer break forever - use the time and teach your kids about money!
This year the summer break seems like it would never end: it started after the pandemic home-schooling BUT there is not much to do to get a real break for the kids and their families. Many summer camps are closed, hobbies are running at a reduced format at best, and traveling is very limited this year thanks to the still-active Covid19 pandemic.
Sure it is great having some time without any plans and activities: time for just being, or even for getting bored. Much too often in the past our schedules are way too overloaded so that we never face that situation. But if it is like this for weeks or months, it does not feel like a relief anymore and we are starting to search for alternatives to keep the children busy and safe.
What about teaching your children about money? This might sound boring and/or scary at first, but I truly think that this is a very valuable thing to teach your children.
Far too often that topic is avoided by the parents or we just assume that our children learn how to handle money only by the example of the parents and/or they will learn in school about it. By far the best way, however, is having regular and age-appropriate discussions about money between parents and children. Step-by-step children can grow and are able to get more responsibility and freedom also in this aspect of life. Check my earlier blog article for more ideas.
Even if you haven't touched that subject so far, it is a good opportunity now to take a deep dive into it. You will spend time together, you will have fun, and your children will learn something essential for their life. By doing so, you give your children a safe environment with the ability to make (small) mistakes and learn of them - by this, they can avoid making more costly mistakes later in life.
I found some great and free resources for facilitating this learning experience.
If you want to use a full-blown curriculum and are ready to step in the teacher's role, the FDIC provides the course "Money Smart for Young People". They have material for the age groups Pre-K -2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. The video below gives a general introduction to the curriculum
For younger kids (4 to 10) the cfpb has a bookshelf "Money as You Grow" which has several ideas of books to read with your kids, and provides reading guides for the parents. This way you can include the learning about money into the storytime.
The nonprofit organization "Next Gen Personal Finance" provides resources for middle and high school aged children. Their website has full curriculums, online games, and activities. Especially I like the page with Quiz Games (Quizlets, Kahoots, and Quizizzs) on different topics.
Last but not least, the Council for Economic Education provides excellent Family-At-Home Financial Fun Packs for Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. Those booklets are full of different types of activities. They are fun to do and are packed with a lot of information and instructions and with videos, quizzes, games, tools, and reading lists.
In addition to those resources, I would like to highlight the game "The Fiscal Ship" in which they can learn how the federal budget works, in an up-to-date edition for the election year. Fun to play - also for adults!