Financial Education for Very Young Kids – Emergent Financial Literacy


For some reason, I used to ask my seven-month-old “Who’s the Champion?” I’d raise her fists like Rocky Balboa. I’d do it once or twice a week for my own entertainment. Then, around her first birthday, I asked her, “Who’s the Champion.” Without hesitation, she raised her arms to the sky. 
Kids are sponges. Soaking up everything around them. Use this absorbent quality to help your kids get a financial literacy head start. You’re may have heard the concept “Emergent Literacy.” It’s process by which kids learn to reading and writing before they can read and write. It’s why so many of us read to our kids from day one. Research has shown this exposure is important for a child’s later literacy development. 
Godstead and McCormick (“Learning Your ABCs: The Link Between Emergent Literacy and Early Childhood Financial Literacy” by Martha H. McCormick and David Godstead) wrote about how a similar process can help build early financial literacy for kids. They coined the term “Emergent Financial Literacy” in 2006, piggy backing on the reading and writing concept described above. Common sense helps explain. Kids are bombarded by messages to spend well before they’re two years old. Exposure to more balanced money messages early is sensible.
So how do you do this? Setup three jars for them and help them put money in each one. Read them books that expose them to the ideas of Saving and Sharing (charitable giving). I’ve written a few fun ones they might enjoy. Reinforce these terms as you help. Repeat the words Save and Share as they place money into the jars.
If you come home and your toddler is perusing a copy of Investor’s Business Daily, then you might have a prodigy and perhaps it might be time for the Grow Jar. Most of us should just be happy knowing that were exposing our kids to positive money messages from a young age. 
Learning that there’s more to money than spending is a valuable life lesson.

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