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Great Ideas for Teaching Your Children to Manage Their Dollars and (Spending) Sense

Five easy pieces to giving your child a life skill that will last a lifetime.

Managing money is a vital life skill that can help a middle-schooler with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) become an independent young adult. Money management is hard for kids with ADHD because they usually lack the math and organizational skills to do it.

So how can you help your child develop money management skills through routine activities? Here are five ideas to use with your kids to help them be masters of their money.

Give an allowance. An allowance connects money management to the completion of job responsibilities. First, create a small list of chores from which he can choose. This will give him buy-in to the chores he tackles. Next connect the amount of the allowance to his level of responsibility. As he completes the jobs, think about “promoting” him to more challenging tasks, with increased pay for a job well done. He will earn your approval as well as the benefits of a pay increase.

Take a trip to the bank. Take your child to the bank with you to open a checking and savings account. Writing checks reinforces basic math skills as he balances his checkbook. Open a debit card account as well to teach him about how credit works. Some banks may allow only older children to open savings accounts, but it is never too early to start teaching the skills he will need to manage his money.

Make a visual spending plan. A spending plan is nothing more than a visual representation of a budget. His plan will empower him to track his money so that he can set financial goals that are important to him, such as buying a new video game or going to movie that has just come out. If your child struggles with math, an app like Fudget will help him manage his budget.

Create a savings chart. Middle-schoolers want more responsibility. You can make money management meaningful to your child by using a savings chart to track his financial goals. Post it on the refrigerator for daily reminders as he saves his dollars and makes progress toward his goal.

Go grocery shopping. A big part of personal money management is daily decision making. Grocery shopping provides an opportunity for you to show your child decision making in action. So take your middle-schooler with you when you go grocery shopping. Give him your list and tell him how much money you have to spend. Have him track your spending based on your budget. It is important that your example translates into his practice.

[Free Resource: Boost Your Teen’s Executive Functions]