Money can be a complicated and awkward topic to discuss in any setting and even more so when confronted head-on by a child’s big eyes and blunt questions. Caught unawares, such questions can be especially tough to answer in a way that is concise, truthful and educational. Addressing the complexities of handling kids’ questions about money, Ron Brien of the New York Times recently wrote an article on how to answer five of the toughest inquiries about family finances. These include questions about the family income, whether you are “rich,” why you do or do not own a second home and even why the family is cutting back.
The article provides tons of great tips on how to educate your kids about money. One such example is putting the abstract concept of money into a context they understand, as demonstrated by David Blackburn who has a kindergarten-aged son. When his son asked why they could not return to a destination from a loved but expensive prior vacation, Blackburn utilized the pie charts his son had recently learned in school. Using amounts of money he was familiar with, such as his weekly allowance of USD 1.25, a Lego set at USD 20 and a family dinner out at sushi at USD 60, Blackburn showed his son how many extra pieces of paper were necessary to graph the cost of the vacation for the family of four in proportion. Having made the cost of the vacation concrete for his son, Blackburn noticed that his son stopped inquiring about returning to the beloved spot.
To read more suggestions for handling money questions from kids, from a kindergartener to a teenager, check out the article.
Photo by DavidDMuir of Flickr.