Money matters in the early years: ECEC services encouraged to talk about cash to kids
Having conversations with children as young as three is the key to a lifetime of good money management, Dan Crotty, National Manager of the Saver Plus program, through the Brotherhood of St Laurence, has said.
Mr Crotty said teaching children about money from an early age was “even more crucial” in an increasingly cashless society.
“It’s easy to find ways to talk to children about money, no matter how old they are,” Mr Crotty said.
“Children no longer have a tangible connection to money as we move to digital banking and tapping cards at the checkout. They also have little understanding of how credit works and the potential impact of debt on their finances.”
He recommended that children in preschool receive and understand three core messages:
- You need money to buy things
- Money includes notes and coins
- You earn money by working.
Moving into the primary school years, Mr Crotty encouraged educators to work with schools and families to embed the following key ideas:
- Comparing prices and shopping around before you buy something is a good habit
- You need to be patient when saving
- You can choose how to spend your money
- Let children pay for small expenses with their pocket or birthday money. This helps them work out the value of their money.
The Saver Plus program is funded by ANZ and the Australian Department of Social Services to assist people on lower incomes to develop a savings habit, and achieve a savings goal. As well as receiving support from a local delivery organisation, participants complete a ‘MoneyMinded’ program to build financial management skills. If the savings goal is reached after at least 10 months, ANZ matches the amount saved – up to $500 – for the purchase of an educational item.
Saver Plus is delivered in 60 locations across Australia in every state and territory, with more than 40,000 people completing the program since 2003. To be eligible for Saver Plus, participants must be 18 years or older, and have a child at school, or be attending vocational education themselves. Participants should also have regular income from paid employment, hold a Health Care or Pensioner Concession Care, and receive an eligible Commonwealth social security benefit, allowance or payment.
Enquiries about the Saver Plus program can be made byc ompleting an online enquiry form at www.saverplus.org.au, or calling or texting your name and postcode to 1300 610 355.