Teaching our children to be ‘money smart’ has become one of the new buzzwords in the education world. Clare Rimmer, Centre Director of Kip McGrath Lisburn reveals some of the best websites and Apps to help little minds learn to manage money.
Campaigners such as Martin Lewis from moneysavingexpert.com have always made an excellent case as to why money management should be included on the school curriculum and the introduction of financial education to the curriculum in England from September 2014 has brought this hot topic to the forefront of parents’ and teachers’ minds again.
The world has changed a lot since I was at school and the way in which people handle money has changed beyond recognition. It is easy to see why today’s schoolchildren might have trouble understanding the value of money. They watch us hand over credit cards to pay for shopping and buy goods online at the click of a button. Children just don’t see money transactions in the way that past generations have. That is why it is so important to teach our children the value of money and how to manage their own finances at as early an age as possible; to ensure we are raising independent, responsible and financially secure adults for the future.
Managing money is included as part of the current Mathematics and Numeracy curriculum for primary school aged children in Northern Ireland but if you want to give your kids some extra help at home: hands on experience is the key! Children know that understanding money means they will be able to spend YOUR money themselves. It’s the perfect opportunity to play games and get creative.
Start them young and make it fun. Get them earning their pocket-money with their brains! “I have a 20p, a 10p, a 5p and a 2p. How much money do I have in my hand?” The correct answer lets them keep the money!
Tackle the money minefield online.
MoneySense at Home from Ulster Bank is a website designed to help parents of children aged 11 to 17 start the conversation about money. If you are looking for advice on the best way to approach the subject this site provides helpful hints, tips and practical exercises on budgeting, managing debt and getting value for money, visit: W: moneysense.ulsterbank.co.uk. For children aged 7 to 11 the RBS Pocket Money site has lots of fun games and activities to engage little minds to start thinking about money matters. W: rbs-pocketmoney.co.uk
The goHenry App is a great way to teach your children financial responsibility online. My nine year old has recently started asking me to buy things for her online in return for handing her pocket money back to me. This App seems to have the solution – a pre-paid card linked to your own bank account allowing you to load on their pocket money. You can set a weekly allowance and add some tasks for them to complete before they receive the money. Saving goals can also be set, developing their understanding of the value of money and their ability to make good financial choices.
If you don’t like the idea of loading a pre-paid card then the Roosterbank App might be worth looking into. Its tag line is “Reinventing pocket money” and it works by allowing parents to set rewards and jobs for their children, resulting in them being taught to save and spend responsibly. The App allows children to view their savings, teaches them about bank statements and interest and when they can afford to buy something, they send the request through to you to purchase.
Similarly, the Goldstar Savings App is an online reward chart App that allows children to keep track of all their achievements and the money they earn for each chore or task they complete. Not only do they learn to become financially smart, but they also learn the importance of working hard to achieve success.
If you are looking for a fun way to engage your child and develop their fundamental understanding of money then try the Moneyville App, designed for children aged 4 to 9. Created by Danske Bank, Moneyville introduces children to the differences between income and expenditure through games set in an imaginary town. Children can earn coins doing a variety of tasks and then choose to spend them in the shop: making sure they have enough money to make their purchases. It’s a great introduction to money matters for younger children.
Clare Rimmer is Centre Director of Kip McGrath Lisburn. W: kipmcgrath.co.uk