Teaching life skills to a toddler is mostly about coaxing them to feed themselves and becoming potty trained. They can do more, though – lots more, and when you tie some chores to money, you’ll be able to set them up to make smart financial decisions as they get older.
Gregg Murset, a Certified Financial Planner and father of six, is the founder of Busykid.com, a site that helps parents introduce chores and an allowance to their kids. We chatted about how kids can start age-appropriate chores early to learn responsibility and accountability.
Moms should give chores to their toddlers and preschoolers.
Of course, chores are very basic when you’re talking about toddlers. You’re teaching them that everyone can help around the house and assist with family chores. Providing them with a sense of responsibility, whether it’s bringing a fresh diaper to mom, or picking up a sippy cup from the table and placing it on the counter, will help them understand that everyone pitches in. Gregg says: “Absolutely start teaching them basics. For instance, they can pick up their toys, bring their clothes to the laundry basket, and straighten their shoes. They should be starting to think about their hygiene – combing their hair, brushing their teeth. They’ll still need your help with this, but it’s great that they’re learning. Basic chores, even when they’re young, teaches them responsibility and a work ethic. Tie those chores to a little incentive by giving them some money so they can start.”
Starting now means they’ll continue into the future.
Even as young as two or three, kids can begin understanding a work ethic that’s built on chores. As they get older, when they earn money, parents can help them make smart decisions with that money. Gregg says, “Kids who do chores learn self-sufficiency and life skills, and as parents, we want them to be successful. This is a great way to reinforce that.”
Laying the groundwork for the future.
As your kids get older, they’ll be able to take on additional, more complex chores. Eventually, picking up their toys will advance to sweeping or vacuuming the floor. Setting their cup on the counter will become washing the dishes and loading the dishwasher.
“When kids learn those valuable experiences early on, it will stick with them through school, in their jobs, and in their family life for the rest of their lives,” Gregg explains.
Teaching kids how to perform chores helps them learn responsible money management.
Kids learn about money pretty quickly. They go shopping with you, watch you hand money over to people, and see others with money too. It doesn’t take them long to figure out that a quarter equals 25 cents.
“Once your kids know what money is, you can starting teaching them about it in a practical way. When you work, you earn money. Once you tie that together, you teach your kids that you can then save that money, donate it a worthy cause, and spend it,” said Gregg. “We have to change our mindset as parents. Today’s kids don’t learn about money the way we did. Most transactions use credit or debit cards, or are done online. Teaching our kids about their financial futures is no longer about balancing a check book when they’re growing up in the age of Uber. It’s about how to successfully navigate invisible money.”
Since money is already tied to technology, use that as an advantage. Money management sites for parents and kids, like Busykid.com, allow you to assign your kids chores so they can earn an allowance, and it gives parents the opportunity to show kids how to save, share, and spend responsibly.