I had a nice, relaxing Mother’s Day last month. Our family came together and treated my mother and me to wine, food, and lots of love. My 7-year-old son watched all this wanted to know if there was a children’s day. Apparently my son wasn’t the only one – millions of children must’ve asked their parents the same question.
How Children’s Day Came About
There has been a long tradition in the U.S. that the second Sunday in June as National Children’s Day, giving parents an opportunity to celebrate and honor their children. (Though various presidents have declared different dates as the official day.)
Personally, I think Children’s Day is a bit of a stretch and more of a retail holiday to boost the economy. When I became a parent, my whole life gravitated around doing what’s best for my son – each and every day! I make it a habit to tell him how important he is to me daily and to teach him valuable life lessons.
Instead of showering my child with fancy toys and writing elaborate Facebook posts about him, I plan to celebrate this National Children’s Day (and future ones) by helping him learn a skill that will be crucial to his happiness: money management.
You can start teaching your child about money at a young age. The more they learn directly from you now, the less they’ll have to learn the hard way later.
Instead of toys and gadgets, gift your children with some of these important money lessons and experiences this summer:
1. Open a Bank Account
I opened a savings account for my son a few weeks ago, and he really enjoyed the experience. We stopped by a local credit union that has a junior savings program with tons of fun incentives for kids to save.
Account holders earn a 0.4-percent interest rate for their savings account and don’t have to maintain a minimum balance. And I like how the bank gives the kids a small toy on their birthdays and invites them to events in the summer. Plus, when my son makes a deposit of $25 or more, he gets a coupon for ice cream. He loves exchanging all the coins from his piggy bank in the coin machine and then handing the slip to his teller to deposit the funds into his account.
The savings account we opened doesn't replace college savings, of course. Still, it’s a great way of teaching kids about money and how to save it in a bank account that earns interest.
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you check out any local banks or credit unions in your area that offer children’s savings accounts. Even if you just deposit $5 or $10, your kids will get super excited about the fact that their money is sitting in a real bank account.
2. Play a Financial Education Game
Playing a financial education game is also a great way to both celebrate Children’s Day and teach your child some valuable lessons about money. If you like playing board games together, you’ll love games like Life, Monopoly, Financial Peace Junior, and CASHFLOW, just to name a few.
We have the Life video game, and even though it’s a little old, it’s fun to play with the family. It's a great game that can teach kids how to manage money when “life” happens. It even teaches how the decisions made when you’re young can affect your finances and income in the future.
I like how this game allows you to purchase insurance to save money when emergencies occur and to decide what type of house you can afford to buy. And it even factors in the cost of having kids when you get to the point of the game where you can grow your family.
3. Create a Dinner Budget
For older children, you might want to find a fun way to teach them how to create a realistic budget. If you plan to prepare their favorite meal for Children’s Day, allow them to help you budget and shop for the items needed to prepare the dish. You can prepare a small celebration and decorate the house. Show your kids how to shop for quality deals and work with the budget you have.
A Final Thought
In the end, Children’s Day is what you make of it. You can start your own memorable traditions that will make a huge impact. Kids will only be kids for so long. Given that, it’s important to take the time out to teach them valuable personal finance lessons. This way, they can have a positive relationship with money as they grow older.