In the age of electronic money transfers, ATM, and on-line checking accounts, it is hard to teach children the value of a dollar. A real dollar, like one with George Washington’s face on it. Not some idea of money being moved around in cyberspace. I remember when I was growing up, my father would take be to a big brown bank. Their he would talk to someone behind chest high wall and they would give me lollipops.
He also showed me how to deposit the money I had earned from my paper routes into a saving account. Each week I would watch the numbers in my little blue passbook grow larger. Here is where I learned the value of saving, hard work and financial growth. This savings account allowed me to solely fund a high school trip to Europe. This expense would have been out of reach for my parents to fund. But through hard work and patience, I was able to achieve this goal.
This is a life lesson I want to teach to my children. During the last week of school my daughter came home with a paper that listed out many of the summer reading programs offered by companies, bookstores and the library. The one that caught my eye was TD Bank. In their summer reading program, if the child read 10 books, $10 would be deposited into a savings account for them. So off we went to the bank where a nice woman named Anne helped my daughter open her first savings account. (My son is to young for the program since he can not read yet, but it was still a good learning experience for him.)
My daughter didn’t get an old-timey passbook, but instead she got a green ledger. Anne then went over with her what her starting balance was and how to record deposits and withdrawals. Then Anne took them on a short tour of the bank showing them what safe deposit boxes were and what the tellers station looked like. She also explained the “Penny Arcade,” which is basically a kid-friendly coin counter. Here my daughter could dump all her coins from her piggy bank into the counter and deposit that amount into her savings account. While it counted, she could venture a guess as to how much the coins totaled up to.
It has been difficult to find tactile, visual opportunities to teach kids about money. They see a credit card or debit card used to pay for things and watch money magically come out of an ATM but really don’t get a full idea of finances. Both of my kids we’re give green TD coin banks, stickers and lollipops. They seemed to have learned a lot about the bank and really enjoyed the experience. I look forward to seeing if my daughter, a natural spender, will have the patience to save towards her goals. (An American Girl Doll Camper)
I was not compensated in anyway for writing this I just liked the program.