If you'd like your preschooler to understand the value of money, you're in increasingly good company. A recent New York Times article reports on a movement to improve the next generation's financial habits that's gaining traction among financial advocacy groups like The Jump Start Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. The result is that there are more and better tools available to parents, including the bilingual For Me, for You, for Later series from Sesame Street and PNC Bank, in which Cookie Monster, Elmo, and other muppets learn just how hard it can be to pay for all those toys.
"Parents often keep issues relating to money with them instead of sharing this important aspect of living with their kids," says Circle of Moms member and mom of two Deepti G. The children are kept in the dark about "how their needs and wishes are met and from where the money comes to fulfill these demands."
She adds that it's vital for parents to start teaching their kids the importance of money at an early age to instill strong financial habits. But as Jill M., a mom of three, puts it, where do you begin? "How do you teach your kids about money? Do you give them allowance? How much?... Do you give them money for every chore they do?"
In answer to questions like these, we've culled some great ideas from members. (We also recommend a look at Jump Start's down-loadable guide, How to Raise a Money Smart Child.)
1. Get a Piggy Bank
That's where piggy banks come in, says Kena J. on the Circle of Mom's Money Saving Tips community. "It's cute and kids will have fun saving money too," says Kena. She suggests depositing the money in a bank account whenever the piggy bank gets full -- behind the scenes of course.
2. Combine Counting Lessons with Money Lessons
"The concept of money can be introduced to a child as soon as she learns to count," says Deepti G. "As the child grows older she can be taught about different denominations and coins and which coin is bigger than the other.
3. Take Them Shopping
Take your child along on grocery shopping trips and show him labels and prices of various items. You can teach your child the value of money by showing him the things it can buy, says Deepti G.
4. Assign Household Chores and Allowances
Even a four-year-old can learn the connection between doing work and earning money, says Ginger K.. She suggests keeping a list of "little tasks" like putting their room in order or picking up their toys that preschoolers can do in exchange for a small allowance. She pays her four year old $1 a week and her 10 year-old, $10. "They understand that the way you get money is to work. That's how it is with grownups, right?"
5. Teach "Save, Spend and Give"
If your child is earning money, the next step, says Emily M. is to teach them to manage it. "Show them how to divide their earnings into three envelopes - 'save, spend and give.' Talk about the importance of each of them and just know that it will take a while. My four-year-old son has saved almost $10 so far and he will not spend it. He is saving for a video game that he really wants."
Though it's not certain whether young children can absorb these money lessons, trying to teach them can make moms more money savvy too, says Laura Levine, JumpStart's executive director, in the New York Times. "It could be 20 years" before we know whether teaching little ones about money has definitive results, she adds. But she believes it's worth trying. Every shopping trip and holiday gift can become "a teaching moment about hard choices, patience and generosity."
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.