With a tiny bit of creativity and effort — and perhaps by accident — I’ve stumbled across an excellent way to teach your baby the value of saving money. Not only that, I’ve figured out a way to make it a fun family experience.
The benefits of this incredibly simple plan will reap all sorts of delight for you and your child. It will teach them that saving money is fun; it allows the parent to spend some very close and enjoyable times with their child, thereby building communication, love, and memories; it also helps the parent to teach the child about numbers and how to count; it helps to teach your child how to speak; and it help your child’s motor-sensory reflexes. All this from dropping coins in a plastic bottle! What better way to help your child create a positive self-image and security all the while building a habit that will help them throughout their life.
What you’ll need to do:
It’s best to start off when your child is about 18 months old. At this time, they are just getting interested in pushing buttons and putting blocks, etc, into holes. Kids find this action of pushing, or inserting, followed by a tinkle or clanking sound to be so fascinating and fun.
Get yourself a Piggy Bank. Now, just any Piggy Bank just won’t do. Buy one of those clear see-through types so that your child can see for themselves as the money accumulates. Then, make an effort everyday to save some pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Every night when you come home from work or shopping, put the coins on your dresser until you have about 15—20 of them. Try not to put out too many coins for your child at once because he may get bored. Watch for this, and if he does get bored, quickly put the rest of the coins in the Piggy Bank yourself. Keep in mind that a key to this exercise being successful is that it must be kept interesting and fun.
Present the Piggy Bank to your child as a present. Kids love that. When presenting the bank to the child make sure you say, "Who wants to save money?" Have mommy and daddy say, "I do!" and everyone sits with baby on the floor and watches the baby as he puts the coins into the bank. With every coin successfully inserted, applause is always appreciated by the child. Gently help the child with inserting the coins as their fingers may not get the hang of it right off the bat. Later on, when the child is about 2-years-old, the applause can be saved for after all the coins are inserted.
(When your child gets the hang of saying "I do!" expand upon it by using everyday expressions like, "Who wants to go shopping?" Or; "Who wants to go to see Grandma?" Then begin teaching him the difference between "I do" and "I am" — for example: "Who wants to go and eat?" and "Who is hungry?")
When all the coins are inserted into the bank, everyone should praise and applaud the child for being so smart and give him hugs. Taking photos of the child holding the bank is also good for memories.
Make sure that after each session of putting money in the bank that the child washes their hands with mommy or daddy. This is an important part of teaching a habit that is beneficial for their entire lives.
Continue this practice over the next several months with your baby adding in bits of conversation and words like, "This is one penny"; "Put the one penny in the bank." Whenever you bring out a group of coins, show your child which ones are "ones" (penny), which ones are "fives", "tens" and so forth.
By about 20 months, your child should be able to count to 10. Lay out ten pennies and count them together with your child. Be creative; play games. Ask your child, for example, "Okay, pick up a five and put it in the bank." As the Piggy Bank begins to fill up, make sure you show your child their progress and just how close to the top of the bank they are getting. Of course, allow your child to play with the Piggy Bank. Be careful when the bank starts to get heavy, your child might drop it on their toes. Ouch!
After this fun and enjoyable time with mom and dad is reinforced repeatedly over and over through your child’s development years, they will see that saving money is a good way to spend a quiet, lovingly close time with their two favorite people in the world (mom and dad) learning and sharing their love. When the Piggy Bank gets full, take your child to the real bank and help them to set up their very own savings account. Explain what is going on at the bank and make it a fun "day trip" with mom and dad. Tell the bank clerk that this is your child’s very own first savings account. Most banks will give your child a balloon or a toy or a fun sticker (kid’s love stickers). Make sure you show the bank book to your child and say, "This is yours!"
Then when you get home, start all over again.
If you do this, 2—3 times a week, then you will surely see just how much your child’s eyes light up for joy whenever you, with a handful of coins, walk into the living room and say, "Who wants to save money?"
What better way to teach your child, show your love, and give them a head-start on life that will help them forever, and all for just pennies a day? Another plus is that you just know that the habit will become ingrained and they will do the same for your grandchildren.
"Who wants to save money?"
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has the distinction of being fired from every FM radio station in Tokyo — one of them three times. His first book, Schizophrenic in Japan, is now on sale.