Millions of Americans are staying home to avoid contracting and spreading the coronavirus. As a parent, you might feel unsure of what to do to keep your kids busy during this unprecedented time. For something that's both fun and productive, there's no better activity than teaching kids about money. Most schools don't cover money topics heavily, if at all, so the coronavirus quarantine is a perfect time to sit down with your kids and prepare them for a successful financial future. Here are some entertaining ways to teach your kids important money lessons during the quarantine.
Create a budget (and update yours at the same time)
According to a study by CareerBuilder, 78% of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck Opens in new window. Even 9% of people bringing in a six-figure salary say they live paycheck to paycheck at times. To help your kids avoid this fate, sit down and teach them the basics of how budgeting works. You can provide them with a valuable real-world example by showing them your own family's finances.
Break down your income and expenses and demonstrate to your kids how you adjust to make sure your budget is on track. This will give them a feeling of responsibility for the family's money and will get them to think about how they'll manage their own finances someday. As you work your way through the exercise, check out your regular spending habits and look for places you may be able to cut back to improve your cash flow and savings.
Introduce them to the stock market and investing
While the markets have been quite volatile since news of the coronavirus broke, they remain a cornerstone of personal finance and the U.S. economy. By using a stock market game or a paper trading account at a favorite brokerage, you can teach your kids about investing and saving for the future.
When you were a kid, you might've looked at the newspaper's business section to find stock prices. Today, you can sit down with your kids at the computer or use your phone to look at the stock market together. Explain what a share of stock is, how its value is determined and how you're investing for retirement and other goals.
Use games as a teaching tool
There are plenty of board games that have built-in money lessons. Have a family game night — or a few of them — during the quarantine to stay busy and learn simultaneously. Here are some of the top games that offer money lessons:
- Monopoly: One of the most popular board games of all time, Monopoly teaches important lessons about real estate, mortgages, rent and bankruptcy.
- Life: The Game of Life takes on topics like the costs and benefits of college, insurance and career choices. Debt, taxes and money management also make appearances in this classic game.
- Pay Day: This board game takes you through a month of managing your budget, from the excitement of payday to the challenges of paying the bills while waiting for that next paycheck to arrive.
- Texas Hold 'em: This poker game teaches about risk, reward, sunk costs and the importance of financial strategy.
Depending on your kids' ages, there are many more fun activities you can use to teach them about money. From playing restaurant to showing them your actual investment portfolio, this is a perfect time to engage your kids in financial lessons. The knowledge they gain is sure to pay dividends for years to come.