Helping Kids Make Cents: Part 2

Lessons for Life

Helping Kids Make Cent$: Part II

Sheila Stark,PHEc 

“$aving cents make wishes come true”

“C-notes, dough, loot, moola, wad, bills, cash, coins, currency”1 – these are all synonyms used to describe MONEY. As adults, we know what it takes to make money, how easy it is to spend money and how hard it is to save our money. As role models for the children in our lives, it is important to teach them money basics (check my previous post) and how to save money.

We must learn that savings make “wishes” come true. In order to instill this philosophy it is important to learn about goal planning. Goals are “wishes”.   Have you heard of the S.M.A.R.T.2 approach to goal setting? It is widely used in business and corporate planning. However with children I would like to tweak it a little.

S – specific goals allow children to focus on ONE “wish” at a time. Use visuals to enhance this step. Have a picture of the goal cut out from a magazine, drawn, or taken as clip art from the Internet.

M – motivating goals bring about the emotional attachment kids need to have. Place that visual goal in a place kids will see everyday, like on their dresser, by their night stand even on either a bedroom or bathroom mirror. After all, “seeing is believing”, as the saying goes.

A –achievable goals allow kids to stay realistic when planning.  Put $ (dollar) amounts with the pictures so kids have a target to work towards. Also think of age groupings like this:

  • (5-8 year olds) – are HIGH motivators and need smaller mini and short term goals within a few weeks ie. Saving for a small toy, book
  • (9-11 year olds) – help them prioritize and see that things are not always immediate by setting short and intermediate goals within a few months ie. Saving for a certain video game, skateboard, craft item….
  • (12-14 year olds) – help them plan goals that bring gratification through short, intermediate and medium term goals within month(s) ie. Saving for video gaming items, clothes or a new bike.
  • (15-18 year olds) – goals should teach patience so they learn what it takes to earn money.   These are achieved through each goal phase including long term goals as well. They may be earned in half a year, one year, or even ongoing. Ie. Saving for a music system, vehicle or even educational fund

R – rewarding goals are satisfying and make this process worthwhile for kids. They instill a sense of accomplishment that builds positive self-esteem.

T – tangible goals are ones “you can experience with one of the senses, that is taste, touch, smell, sight, or hearing.”3 At each age level, kids will understand the purpose behind the goal setting plan once they have gone through the whole process. Start with mini goals that have quick rewards and kids will realize that you can “save” to make wishes (goals) come true. They will be motivated to set other goals.

Goal setting is a life skill. Children who learn this process at a young age will have a head start as they travel along the road of life. Knowing how to set goals will help ensure kids will eventually be able to apply the process to all aspects of life including their own personal health and well being, academic achievements, future endeavors and financial freedom.

For more, please visit Helping Kids Make Cents: Part I

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Sheila Stark is a professional Home Economist with over 20 years of experience. She works as a Human Ecology Specialist Teacher in the areas of Food & Nutrition, Clothing, Housing & Design, Family Studies, Life Skills, & Consumer sciences. She has experience working with children from pre-school through grade 12.