Money lessons from toddler to teen

Money lessons from toddler to teen

It’s important that children’s first money lessons are taught from an early age.

Financial education is one of the most significant parts of adult life, so it’s important that children’s first money lessons are taught from an early age. A Cambridge University study found money habits can be instilled in a child by age seven. The simplest way to do this is by imparting age-appropriate values and life skills. Old Mutual head of strategic retail marketing, Paige Naicker, shares practical tips for parents.


Stage 1: Toddler years

By the time children reach the ages 2-4 parents can introduce the concept of exchanging money for goods and services, using play scenarios with real money, for example, playing ‘shop’.

Stage 2: Preschool

  • From 4-6 kids can start receiving pocket money, so the concept of money management can now be introduced.
  • Teach them to save their pocket money to buy a toy or treat. This will encourage an understanding of immediate and future gratification.

Stage 3: Primary school

  • By ages 8-13 kids can start understanding the concept of income versus expenditure, and link their allowance to household budgeting. Show them how to allocate a portion of their pocket money to the things they want to buy.
  • When doing the monthly groceries teach them to buy their own treats. When compiling the shopping list,
    teach them to draw up their own ‘list’.
  • Open a savings account for them and teach them to save a percentage of their allowance. Research shows that when children have a personal economic experience, they tend to develop better financial understanding.

Stage 4: Teenagers

  • Introduce the concept of earning money, for example, through chores. Place a value on each chore and the hours spent doing it. For example, for two hours spent washing the cars, they could earn R100.
  • Encourage grade 12 learners to contribute towards their matric dance. Advise them to save money from the beginning of the year. Give them an incentive: for every R500 they manage to save in three months, you might double that amount.
  • Show them how you do your own budgeting for the family holiday: your calculations of how much it will cost, and therefore how much you will need to save every month.


The advice contained here is strictly for informational purposes. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always consult your GP or a doctor for specific information regarding your health.


About Nolwazi Dhlamini

Features Writer for Your Family magazine. She’s worked in print and digital media, and finds thrill in understanding human behaviour. Nolwazi believes everyone has a fascinating story to tell, and it just takes the right person, asking the right questions, to find it.


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