Many parents grapple with how to talk to their kids about a certain sensitive topic. They want to know: Are the kids old enough to understand? Am I talking about this too late, or too early? Will I explain things clearly, or just confuse them? I'm referring, of course, to the money talk. And I'm a firm believer in the idea that no kid is too young to get it.
That's why I was so thrilled when Sesame Workshop asked me to be an advisor on "For Me, For You, For Later," a national financial literacy initiative that launched last week. Who better than Sesame Street to help teach kids about something as tricky as money? I even got to teach Elmo on camera about spending, saving, and sharing. You can see the results - free videos for kids and helpful guides for parents - at sesamestreet.org/save.
Even if you agree that discussing the building blocks of money basics is important, it can be tough to know where to start. The good news is that it doesn't have to be difficult. Focus on concepts when you talk to young children, not math. This is not teaching that five pennies equal a nickel, but about how we make decisions about using that nickel.
Here are a few lessons that even preschool-age kids can grasp.