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Young children and shopping

Talking with your child about money can go smoother if you keep the conversation age appropriate. The conversation starters and activities here can help you find the words.

Conversations about shopping

“There are lots of things that are valuable, and some of them cost money.”

  • Ask your child to identify different coins and their value.
  • Discuss things your child enjoys that are free, such as playing with a friend or going to the library.
  • Point out to your child items that cost money, such as ice cream, gas for the car, or clothes.

“You need to make choices about how to spend your money.”

  • When you are out shopping, point out essentials such as food and clothing, and ask your child to describe items that he may want but are optional.
  • Talk about how your family decides what to buy and what to pass up. Which is more important, buying cookies or fresh fruit? Soda or milk?
  • Think out loud about your budget and how you mentally divide up a finite amount of money into sections for food, rent or house payments, clothes, and optional items.
  • Include your child in some of your small decisions. For example, at the grocery store, think out loud about why you pick one item over another.
  • Give your child two dollars and let him choose which fruit to buy.
  • When shopping with your child, ask yourself aloud: Do I need this item? Can I borrow it? Would it cost less somewhere else?

Activities about shopping

“Spending money always means making a choice.”

Surprise Money Gift

Pretend with your child they have just received a surprise gift of $100. Ask them what they would do with the money. Then, talk about whether your child was going to save the money, use it for something they needed, use it for something they wanted, or something else. Talk about whether they would have spent the money differently if they had worked to earn the $100 or if they had borrowed the $100?

Download Surprise Money Gift

Make Spending Choices at the Park

Starting at a young age, children can learn to stop and think so they can choose what’s best for them before they spend money. In this activity, children get to choose what to do at a park.

Download Make Spending Choices at the Park