STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — How young is too young to teach kids about money and finances? Christy Whitman’s answer to that question might surprise you.
As a New York Times bestselling author and a CEO, Whitman has had a great deal of experience breaking down complicated money situations into easy to understand terms.
She visited KCAL9 Friday to share these tips about toddlers and money:
- Money is one of those words that has a lot of charge, and typically the charge is very negative. When we have children, they pick up on our energy and how we feel about certain topics. Money is one of those topics. You may not come out and say to your kid that money is bad or that there is not enough of it, but they learn this through how you feel and interact.
- Parents need to be aware of their own negativity about money because children pick that up. For example — you’re in a toy store and your child is crying because he/she wants a toy; how do you explain to them that it’s too expensive?
- Parents project their money issues on children. As parents we need to be very careful how we talk about money. When you say, “We can’t afford that” instead of “I’m choosing not to purchase that” it gives off negative energy and teaches children that there is not enough.
- How young can you teach children about money? This expert feels as long as they are old enough to understand not to put things in their mouth; you can start to teach them about money. Tell them that money is valuable and tell them what it means to you. “I enjoy making money, because money provides me freedom. We are able to eat, live in an air conditioned house, wear nice clothes, etc. That is what money provides.”
- Explain to children what money is — call it the “current medium of exchange.” Tell them we attract money by doing things of value.
- It is never too early to start giving a small amount of money for helping around the house. When our 22 month old helps us sweep or unload the dishwasher, we break out the piggy bank and celebrate that he did something of value and show him that he gets rewarded for that service.
- Without positive ideas and information, money can become a mysterious and scary monster that comes back to haunt someone later in life.
Christy Whitman is the creator of the Enlightened Kid program.