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Run out of ways to entertain your children in lockdown? Teach them to make smart money moves

Many online courses give lessons on saving

With at least another two weeks stuck in lockdown many parents may be running out of ways to keep their kids entertained and educated outside their school curriculum. 

Learning about money is even more important in an age where technology has made the concept more abstract for children. Picture: 123RF/HONGQI ZHANG
Learning about money is even more important in an age where technology has made the concept more abstract for children. Picture: 123RF/HONGQI ZHANG

With at least another two weeks stuck in lockdown - for some longer due to a phasing-in approach for schools - many parents may be running out of ways to keep their kids entertained and educated outside their school curriculum. 

South African schools were shut down more than a week before an official nationwide lockdown on March 26 to control the spread of the coronavirus. To date Covid-19 claimed 65 SA lives, and 178,371 globally.

Daryl Coker, advisory partner at Citadel, says now is a good time to include more money lessons into your family schedule through resources available online. 

“As we know, the savings culture in SA is pretty poor. This difficulty seems to be compounded when we try to introduce our children to this concept. Talking money and saving to a generation that expects  ‘instant gratification’ is challenging,” says Coker. 

The ease of transactions through online banking portals and apps as opposed to physically touching banknotes and coins has also made the concept of money abstract, making learning about money an even more important part of any child’s education, he says. 

Coker says age appropriate content is key. “For example, at preschool level keep it simple starting with lessons around savings and how much things cost. At primary level you can introduce comparing prices, priorities and the concept of impulsive buying.

“With teenagers and young adults look for options that teach the responsibility of managing a bank account, healthy savings habits and positive reinforcements, steering clear of bad credit, introduction to compound interest, how to make money and a simple budget,” he says. 

To help you and your children pass time while in lockdown, financial services provider Metropolitan has launched a free, zero-data, online financial literacy course in collaboration with FunDza. 

Claire Klassen, group CSI consumer financial education specialist at Momentum Metropolitan, says the course running until June 30, uses storytelling to engage and empower young people 13 years and older to successfully manage their finances and build wealth. 

“The course tells the fictional story of the Majolas, while covering a number of educational themes – from personal financial management, to setting up a new business – in a fun and easy to follow format,” says Klassen. 

Registering for the course provides you with free access to the rest of FunDza’s library of books, short stories, essays, etc. aimed at getting young people reading and learning.

Starsaver.co.za, a financial literacy programme by the Banking Association South Africa, aims to foster the culture of saving in young people focusing on four pillars: learning, earning, saving, spending and investing.

Educational online portal www.teachingresources.co.za has money lesson resources that you can buy for download from R12, including assessments to double check if the information is really sinking in. 

You could also invest in an online class or two for your child on Young Entrepreneurs or younge.co.za, which offers various financial literacy courses for children from age 7 to young adults of 18+, with a once-off sign on fee and a R295 monthly instalment for 4 months. 

The instructor-led course consists of one 60-minute lesson per week over a couple of weeks, depending on age group, which exposes your child to money lessons from foundation phase to entrepreneurial young adults. 

With online learning you are not limited to gaining knowledge from within the South African borders. US innovation center, mindtreasures.com, has free money lesson resources that you can download, covering the ABC’s of Wealth for kids including saving, investing, sharing and spending.  

The curriculum links behaviour and emotions, with children taught the value of emotions, helping them master the art of identifying their money personality and nurturing high emotional intelligence when it comes to handling money. 

If you are looking for apps that you can use daily over a longer period, the RoosterMoney and piggy pocket money & allowance management apps are available on Android as well Apple stores and are perfect for primary age groups and younger. 

The apps reward chores and good behaviour, while assisting your child to make smart decisions when it comes to how they save, spend and share their money. You are able to monitor and cash out portions of the money with a debit card. 

With the allowance & chores bot app available on Android, you can set up simple chores for toddlers and primary school children, as well as weekly or monthly allowances and bonuses. This app teaches them the art of working for their money and saving it over time. 

Gerald Mwandiambira CFP®, acting CEO of the South African Savings Institute, says on the organisation’s blog that teaching children about money needs to be practical and you as a parent should be open to letting them make some mistakes as part of the learning journey. 

“Letting your children learn from their experiences includes making poor decisions. Although it’s painful to watch your child run out of money, the best lesson is where children start to learn the value of things and to make smart choices,” Mwandiambira explains. 

He says children learn by imitation and that there are basics, for instance the example of an adult, that children can build a strong financial base, including understanding budgeting, managing a budget shortfall, saving, planning for irregular expenses and investing and planning for the future.