April is National Financial Literacy month and the perfect opportunity to teach your kids some valuable money lessons. Building a foundation of money smarts now can be a positive experience for both you and your kids. Here are some ideas for a week-by-week plan to teach your kids about money in April:
Week 1: Cash Basics
Teach younger kids about the basics of money. Inexpensive play money sets can help kids learn about money and math. Have a contest to see who can find the most change in the house. Print free money-themed coloring sheets.
With older kids, introduce them to checks and bank accounts. Show them how you write a check, what a statement looks like and how you track your budget online. Play financial board games like Monopoly, Payday, Life and Mall Madness.
Week 2: Saving
Use fun books and music CD's like It's a Habit, Sammy Rabbit to teach younger kids the basic principles of saving. Set up a plan to let your kids earn interest on the portion of their allowance that they save each month. Ask them if they would rather have $10,000 or a penny a day doubled for a month.
Take older kids to open their own savings account. Help them set up longer-term savings goals for things they want to buy. Talk about summer jobs and saving for a car when they get their license. Share details about how you save.
Week 3: Spending
Play store with younger kids to learn about prices and buying. Take them to the grocery store for a scavenger hunt based on groceries and sales. Use the savings lesson from the week before to talk about spending the money they earn.
Older kids should learn about credit cards and loans. Talk to them about how credit cards work and the dangers that can come with not using them responsibly. Hypothetically shop for the best deal on a car online and calculate how much it would cost between the loan, gas, maintenance and insurance.
Emily Peters – Credit.com's personal finance expert and former TransUnion credit bureau insider. Emily writes about credit reports, credit cards, loans and personal finance as the CreditBloggers.com editor.