When it comes to teaching kids about money, YOU are their best role model. The more you can engage them in shopping as a game to be played like “show-and-tell,” the better their chances of becoming money savvy shoppers. The traditional game of show-and-tell is an early childhood school game where each child brings in an object from home, shows it to the class and tells them about the object. “This is my panda bear. Her name is Gretchen. I got it from my Grandma when I turned five years old and she sleeps with me and sometimes we have tea parties. Gretchen has blue eyes and is very soft and cuddly. She is a good listener and always waits for me to play with her.” The class can then ask questions about the object that was the subject of the child’s show-and-tell. A lively discussion of the item follows, where the presenter and the class can share their curiosity, insight and information.
This game can be applied to a shopping scenario, with good results. It works very well in the grocery store but can applied to any purchase. You can have the child be on the lookout for particular items on your list or have them bring items that they want to your shopping cart. Before putting in the items in the cart, have the child do a little show-and-tell about the item. For example, “This is a box of crackers. It is a great snack that we can eat with soup or peanut butter and jelly or cheese.” This is a good time to give positive reinforcement for the presentation, and say something like, “Yes, we really enjoy these crackers. Good choice!” Then it is your turn to ask questions about the item. What flavor does it have, how many crackers are in the box, etc. Your questions help to make a connection about the features of the product that you like. You can even ask what is the difference between one brand and another brand, if your child can handle that question.
The next question in show-and-tell shopping helps the child to associate the price with the item. If the child is old enough, ask them if they can find the price of the item on the box. You can compare the price of the favorite brand with the price of others and talk about why the price is or is not going to change your decision to buy it. The discussion is not mean to intimidate or make anyone feel badly about the choice to make a particular. It is just helping a child to make an informed decision when it comes to making a purchase. This is the item, these are its features, this is the price, this is the price compared to the other competitive brands. Now that all of these points have been considered, I am going to buy it. Raising a money savvy shopper is as simple as show-and-tell.
Candi Sparks is the author of the “Can I Have Some Money?“ kid money book series. She is on Facebook (Candi Sparks – author) and on Twitter (Candi Sparks). Her website is www.can-I-have-some-money.com