CHALK Preschool
CHALK Preschool

The Mommy-Daddy Bank

It’s never too early to teach your kids about money

February 5, 2024

by CHALK Preschool Admin

Is it possible to take your little one to the store without a tantrum?

After one too many stand-off moments at the corner store, the one with the toy aisle, about some item that my child thought was crucially important to their existence, I realized something.  If I included them in the decision-making process, it was way easier, if not enjoyable, to take my kids with me to pick up that prescription. This is why I started the mommy-daddy bank when they were 3 and 5 years old.

In this blog, we will walk you through establishing a “banking” system for your little one to…

1. Introduce them to conscious spending

2. Eliminate the fights at the store

3. The benefits of saving money

Here’s how it works:

The kids need to understand simply that from this point forward, when they are at the store and find something they want they will need to find out if they have enough money in the mommy-daddy bank. You can be proactive and give them a heads-up before you leave. Then they must decide how they want to spend their money. Maybe they find something they want but don’t have enough at that time. You can suggest waiting until the interest makes more money. You can certainly put limits on items if say candy is something you don’t want them to purchase. But otherwise, you cannot decide for them if what they want is valid, like another stack of Pokemon cards, ugh. 

Teaching the Mommy-Daddy Bank method…

  1. find a notebook or pad of paper from around the house (or create a spreadsheet if that is easier!), or even a little pocket notebook they can call their “wallet” and take with them
  2. allow your little one to decorate with whatever makes them happy and feel ownership (let them pick the font and color of the spreadsheet)
  3. decide how much you want to put into the “bank” as an initial seed
  4. decide how much interest they will receive and if that will be weekly (recommended so they can see how their money grows more quickly)
  5. get some 1 dollar bills ready and have a few toys that one might find at the store on hand
  6. for ease of this explanation, we will use $10 seed and 10% interest (I know, we all want to be in this bank) 
  7. show them what 10 single dollars look like laid out on the table, then explain if they don’t spend any of it you will add 1 more dollar bill to it simply because they didn’t spend it (lay that next to the initial amount) and that money will keep being added according to what’s in the bank. simply put, the more money you have in here the more money we will put in.
  8. then show them what happens if they buy one of the toys you have brought to the table, take the dollars away
  9. Establish ground rules for going to the store and how the process will work best for you and your family
  10. wrap up by saying if you save your money you will be able to buy something very special later, if you spend it every time you go to the store you will run out and have nothing to buy toys with

Name the bank whatever you want and make adjustments as you see fit to the amount of money and interest payment amounts. Just remember that consistency is key to everything in a child’s life.

Initially, this will take some extra time and effort but once established it works like a dream if you stay consistent. At the store I had no more begging, tantrums, or tears, I just had to say do you have enough money to buy that, and is that something you want to spend your money on?  I always suggested that “maybe wait until next time we are here and see if you still want it” to start to help them recognize impulse control.

Lessons like these can also occur in school settings with the right teachers and curriculum. Actively engaging students to go beyond basic counting to incorporating “real” experiences in the classroom setting by pretend shopping or going to the pretend bank. Kids are so eager to model their parent’s behavior, that being fiscally responsible and being able to analyze purchases or savings is an act that will be with them for the rest of their lives. Making learning fun creates a lifetime of curiosity!