7 Financial Lessons for Kids
#1 We are God’s STEWARDS. God made everything, so He owns everything (1 Chron 29:11). Everything was made through Jesus and for Him (Col 1:16b). A steward is a person who takes care of another person’s things (1 Cor 4:2). We are to take care of God’s things that he gives us. Jesus is the example steward (Heb 3:5-6).
- Your children are God’s stewardship to you as a parent. Spend time with them rather than just spending money on them. Cancel work for them. Don’t miss the brief opportunity to shape them for eternity. Find teachable moments along life’s road (Deut 6:6-9).
- Walk around your home as a family. Look for things that God owns. Take turns creating sentences that affirm His ownership; such as, “God owns this book.” Discuss how each member of the family can be a faithful steward by taking good care of God’s things in your home.
- Allow your children to help with planning family meals and managing the grocery budget. It is good for them to see what they may need to sacrifice in order to purchase an extra treat.
- The first step in learning to handle money is to know how much money you get and how much you spend. Help your kids write down how much they receive and spend each week.
#2 God made us for WORK. God created us to work. We work hard, because we are working for the Lord (Col 3:23). We are made in His image, and we are intended to show His glory to the world (Genesis 1:27).
Let your child hold a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. Review their names and how many cents each is worth. Learn the names of the people on the coins. Read Mark 12:13-17. Because the coins have the image of American figures, they belong to and work in the United States. Because we are made in God’s image, we belong to and work for God.
- Talk to your child about what you do for a living. If you work outside the home, take your child to your work and show him or her what you do.
#3 A worker is worthy of his EARNINGS. A worker is worthy of his wages (Luke 10:7). So, when you need money, the best place to go is to work. But, our good works must also be done in a worthy way—with excellence and a good attitude. Because of sin, none of our works are pure. The wages for sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 3:23).
- Create a CHORE CHART. Decide if and how much compensation the child will receive for doing their job consistently and well. For example, you could pay your child a dime or quarter per chore done each week.
- One Sojourn father does not pay his children for household chores, but he has told his children that he will fund their business plans. He has encouraged his children to think about creative ways to make money. Then, he has invested in their strategies. One child has started a garden, and he is selling vegetables to neighbors.
- Pray with your children about their attitude as workers. Pray that they will do their best and that God will make their work worthy by freeing them from sinful attitudes. If your child is not a believer, talk about how we need Jesus to change our heart and make us worthy workers.
#4 We freely GIVE because we have freely received from Jesus (Prov 11:24; Matt 10:8). The Bible tells us to give money cheerfully to help our church and other people in need (2 Cor 9:7). It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). The Bible teaches the principal of giving a minimum of 10% to the local church (Malachi 3:10).
- Ask your child to help you find something in your home (it could be canned food or money) that you could give to someone in need. As a family, give to the person in need.
- If your child does not have a jar, box, or envelope with the word GIVINGwritten on it, ask your child to help you make one. Let your child decide how much of his or her weekly earnings will be put in the box for giving. Begin with 10% of earnings.
- Consider breaking down giving into the categories by creating an envelope for God/local church and one for others in need.
- Read John 14:1-6. Talk to your child about heaven. Talk to them about how Jesus is preparing a place for us there.
- As a family talk about how ants and squirrels save for their future needs. If you are able, go outside and demonstrate that ants will take small breadcrumbs or sugar into their anthill to save for the winter. Read Proverbs 6:6-8 and Luke 14:28-33. Talk about how we need to prepare now to see our future plans accomplished. Talk to your children about what thins they may want to save for (a home, education, their future children, emergencies, etc.)
- If your child does not have a jar, box, or envelope with the word SAVINGSwritten on it, ask your child to help you make one. Let your child decide how much of his or her weekly earnings will be put in the box for savings. The child should put a minimum of 10% of his or her earnings in this envelope for future savings.
- Take your child to the bank or to an online bank to open a savings account or education fund for him or her.
#6 How we SPEND money shows what we treasure in our hearts. We should not stockpile treasures on earth where material things decay. Instead, we should invest in eternal treasures (Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:20-21). We are to spend money wisely and be content with what we have (Phil 4:11-12; Matt 6:25-34). The way that we spend our money reveals whether or not we treasure God. We trust, obey, and suffer for God now, because he gives us more lasting things in eternity (2 Cor 4:17-18).
- Lose the game of LIFE or Monopoly. Consider this story from Randy Alcorn:
One night when they were six and eight, my daughters asked me to play the game of “LIFE,” a popular board game I’d never played. One of my girls expressed disappointment when she landed on a space that made her a teacher rather than a doctor or lawyer—despite the fact that in real life she wanted to be a teacher! Why the disappointment? Because it meant she would receive a lower salary the rest of the game. And money, after all, is what LIFE (and for many people life) is all about.LIFE presents the choice of whether to have children. Because there’s a minimum amount of money but no minimum amount of children required to win the game, my girls kept choosing money over children. When I chose children over money, it surprised them. Choosing children might mean losing the game, and who plays a game with the intention of losing?The whole event turned out to be an excellent teaching opportunity. I shared with my daughters Scripture’s infinitely higher regard for children than money, and how “winning” and “success” are very different in God’s eyes than the world’s. Next time they played the game I noticed they made decisions that would make them “losers” by the games’ standards.
- Take your children to a junkyard and show them the “treasures” that are now junk. They cost hundreds but are now sold for pennies. They were once Christmas and birthday presents, but they are now worthless.
- If your child does not have a jar, box, or envelope with the wordSPENDING written on it, ask your child to help you make one. Let your child decide how much of his or her weekly earnings will be put in the box for spending. If there is a special item (toy, food, clothing, etc.) that your child desires, consider creating a separate envelope for saving to buy with cash.
- Discuss the concept of praying and waiting for God to provide something. Together decide what item you need, write this on a sheet of paper and put it on the refrigerator or in some other prominent place. Read Matthew 6:25-34. As a family, pray daily for God to provide the item and always thank Him for all He has already given you.
#7 The Bible encourages us to avoid DEBT, because Christ has paid our debts by His love (Rom 13:8). “When you are in debt to someone, you change your relationship with them. You no longer work for your own money, but you work for them.” The only debt we should have as Christians is the continuing debt to love one another. We love because He first loved us.
- Read the story of the widow and her two sons in 2 Kings 4:1-7. How did the sons help their mother get out of debt?
- If your family is in debt, discuss some of the different ways everyone can work together to get out of debt. This can be a great family project.
- Teach your children how to say “No.” Alcorn says, “We must model the principal of delayed gratification, and teach the value of avoiding an expenditure when the money could accomplish a higher purpose if given away or saved or used more wisely.”
- Allow your child to hold coupons at the grocery store. Describe how a coupon works and the wisdom of using every method available to avoid debt. Go to the store as a family and let your kids use the coupons.