Recently, it seems that a lot of the conversations in our household revolve around money matters. They're usually aggravating back-and-forths filled with pleading, misunderstandings, and even the occasional tears. But don't get the wrong idea. The trouble isn't between my husband and me over making our mortgage payment. No, all the drama is with our 7-year-old son, Nicky. And it's over issues like why we can't drop everything and run to the store to get the latest Silly Bandz, magic card, or 3-D Rubik's Cube. I mean how many times can you explain that: a) our family doesn't have a bottomless well of cash and b) even if we did you still can't get everything you want, the second you want it?
It turns out that our family isn't alone. By the time they reach first or second grade, kids aren't just eager consumers, they're also increasingly curious about how much toys, games, movies -- even cars -- cost. Yet most 7- and 8-year-olds' idea of fiscal resourcefulness is to ask (or beg!) you for money. It shouldn't be that way, experts say, because doling out dollars whenever your child asks isn't only hard, especially in a challenging econ-omy, it also encourages kids to be impulse spenders and poor money managers.
It's not just your child's avid interest in getting and spending that makes this age the ideal time to start imparting money sense. She's also likely learning about currency and coins in school as part of her math curriculum, so money and how it adds up is less of an abstraction. Capitalize on this shift by teaching valuable money-management skills at home.