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How to Teach Your Toddler About Money

June 21, 2024

How I teach my toddler about money-and why you should do it too

We spoke to money saving influencer Sophie Bradbury (@budgetmumsoph) and she shares her top tips for helping teach your toddler all about money.

It’s depressing but true: our education curriculum does not teach young people enough about money and how they can have a healthy relationship with it. It’s a huge part of our adult lives though, so it’s important we teach our children how to handle money, taxes and how to budget effectively, even when they’re just toddlers! As a mum of one, I started teaching my son Albie about money from a really early age. I love saving money and budgeting, so it’s a big part of what we do as a family. The good news is, you can start simple and instil a knowledge and awareness of money from the beginning. Here’s my top tips for teaching your toddler about money.

Talk about coins!

The easiest thing to do is to introduce coins when you’re going about your daily life with your toddler. Money is a difficult concept for all children to learn and can be confusing.. For example, a 5p is worth more than 2p but is actually smaller in size! But show them coins from an early age and talk about them! We often look at coins and talk about the shape, size and value. Albie loves to organise his pennys already! Every shopping trip is a time to educate so he also helps me pick out the correct amount of change when paying in shops.

Try my charity shop challenge

We love a good charity shop trip! I often give Albie a budget to spend and I have a series on my instagram where I head to a charity shop and we stick to a budget to find a new toy. I give my son a budget (usually £1 or up to £5) and he can choose a toy or selection of toys with the
budget. Not only is this great for educating your child about money but also about helping you shop sustainably by buying second hand. Much better value for money then spending it on a kid’s magazine!

We are currently practising reading price stickers and counting to see if we have enough money to spend on our charity shop trips. My son is only three so we are focusing on adding up pounds rather than pounds and pennies. Or if his budget is £1 we practise adding the pennies to 100. This also helps them to understand that £1 is the same as 100p.

Practise paying for items

We always encourage Albie to help us pay in shops-whether that’s cash or card. When using cash, we practise taking the change from the cashier too. He also helps me look through my purse and find the correct amount of change to pay. A quick tip: this is sometimes much easier
to do at self checkout though, as you can take your time to talk about the qualities of the cash.

Practise ‘more than’ by comparing prices

I’m not saying dissect your energy bill but start to introduce the concept of things being more or less expensive with money-as this is something children are introduced to in reception. When we go shopping (particularly food shopping), we look at tables and prices. I talk to my son about making choices, for example “these beans are £1 and these are 50p but they’re the same. Let’s get these ones because they’re 50p less”. He might not fully understand what I’m saying yet, but he’s still being exposed to the language and hearing my reasoning. It’s a great way to model making decisions around money!

I haven’t always found money management easy so I’m so determined to pass on good money habits as early as possible now I’m a parent!

For more money-saving tips for parents, visit Sophie’s instagram @budgetmumsoph


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