It’s highly likely your Pre-K kiddo has started asking questions about money (and if they haven’t, then they’re holding them in…then again, when have you known ANY Pre-K kid to hold ANYTHING in?).
Maybe they don’t know exactly how to describe it, but they’ve figured out a thing or two.
Like when Mommy and Daddy go to the store they hand over something green or plastic to the cashier before taking items home.
Or sometimes they don’t get to have the things that they want in a store, even though they appear to be there for the taking.
Or that Mommy and/or Daddy leaves most days to go to a job to make money.
President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capabilities
According to the President (or at least his advisory council), by the age of 5, your child needs to know the following four things to be on track to living a “financially smart” life:
- You need money to buy things.
- You earn money by working.
- You may have to wait before you can buy something you want.
- There’s a difference between things you want and things you need.
Looking to reinforce (or even introduce) at least a few of these concepts to your little one?The Prez says, by 5 your child needs to know these 4 things to be on track to living a… Click To Tweet
Four Book Suggestions to Learn and Reinforce Money Lessons for the Under-5 Crowd
I’ve picked out four money books that will help you instill these lessons and others. Each of these books I personally read (I’m not about to recommend something I haven’t!).
So I’m giving you a summary, as well as my thoughts on the money lesson(s) and life lesson(s) your child can pick up from the story.
Money Book #1: Sheep in a Shop, Nancy Shaw
This is the perfect book to show your very young kiddo what the purpose of a store is for: to go with money with something specific in mind that you want to buy. A group of sheep are on the mission to purchase a birthday gift. Unfortunately, they don’t have enough in their piggy bank for what they want to buy. So they learn to barter for it!
Ages: 2-3 years old
The Money Lesson(s): Sheep can’t count. Haha − just kidding. The real money lesson here is that things in stores are not free. Also, saving up to buy something is best…or else you might have to barter something like your own fur!
Life Lesson(s): It’s nice to both have fun while shopping, as well as to put some thought and energy into someone’s birthday.
Money Book #2: The Ant and the Grasshopper, Amy Lowry Poole
This is a twist on the classic Aesop’s fable, where the ants consistently, and without hesitation, prepare for the winter months while the grasshopper focuses on games + entertainment in the Chinese Emperor’s Summer Palace.
Ages: 4+ years
The Money Lesson(s): Consistent, and sometimes hard, work pays off. Preparation for tough times to come − financially or otherwise − is a good idea.
Life Lesson(s): The ants may be super prepared for winter while the grasshopper is out in the cold, but there is something to be said for enjoying life more. The lesson here is somewhere along the lines of “work hard, but don’t forget to play hard. Play hard, but don’t forget to leave time for work.”
Money Book #3: Apple Farmer Annie, Monica WellingtonI don't think people have a clue as to how much work it takes to grow something, raise then… Click To Tweet
I get exhausted just thinking back to my cow-milking, hay-making, silo-filling days.
What I like about this book is that your child will start to get an idea of the process involved in farming and turning it into an end product. Annie, an orchard farmer, takes your child through (though in a really cursory way) picking apples, sorting them, producing sweet apple cider, applesauce, various baked goods, and then selling the most beautiful of all of them at the farmer’s market.
One more cool tidbit in this book: there are Annie’s recipes in the back. So you could extend the study by picking your own apples, sorting them, then making a recipe together with your child.
Ages: 3-7 years
The Money Lesson(s): When you grow your own food, you can keep some for yourself to munch on (or bake really yummy things with), and then you can sell the excess and make some money. This is also a great opener for discussing with your child your own job and how it enables you to earn money.
Life Lesson(s): All throughout the book you can feel Annie’ s enthusiasm for what she does. It’s nice to show kids that you can love what you do in life.
Money Book #4: Paddy’s Payday, Alexandra Day
Paddy is an Irish Terrier who performs for a living. It’s his payday, and he’s got a long list of ways to spend his money.
The message that I don’t like in this book is to spend, spend, spend on your payday.
However, you could turn this around by opening a discussion about which of the things Paddy spends on that are needs versus wants. Think: Boston Cream donuts, hair cut, movie ticket, dinner at a restaurant, a bouquet of flowers (Paddy’s on track to be poor before his next payday!).
Ages: 3-8 years
The Money Lesson(s): Payday means you have money to spend on both needs and wants. To truly get this lesson, you’d have to add that in, though, because Paddy seems to spend, spend, spend (without any remark on how he’s spending his paycheck away!).
Life Lesson(s): It’s important to play as well as work, not just one without the other. Paddy works for a living, so it’s nice to see him take some time off and enjoy himself.
What are your fave money books you’ve read to your kiddos? I’d love to pick up another one and give it a whirl. My own baby is 9 months, but it’s never too early to start with the money lessons…
Pssst: Ready to get your child Money Smart? Check out my new site, Money Prodigy, where we’re closing the money gap one kid at a time.