Learning how to handle money is a lifelong process. Even as adults, some of us are still taking the steps to financial acuity. Positive or negative, children begin their education regarding money from their parents. They also pick up misinformation through friends, television, and social media. At school, various teachers might incorporate learning about money into their curriculum, but a set syllabus that teaches them all they need to know to be “money wise” is not mandatory. As a Seedling Mentor, you are in a unique position to incorporate this important life skill into the activities you engage in with your mentee. The wonderful thing about financial literacy is that you can share “money wisdom” during your conversations when the opportunity arises. The key is to pay attention to your mentee’s cues. As long as they show an interest, it is never too late or too early to learn helpful information about money matters. It is also a topic that can be revisited as your mentee grows and matures.
Learning about financial literacy doesn’t have to be boring. Games and activities are a fun way to impart financial lessons. For example, understanding the difference between needs and wants is essential to a healthy understanding of how to manage money. Not understanding the difference, a child can grow to believe that everything they want is “a need.” It is completely logical in their minds to be certain that because they want it, they need the new toy, those expensive sneakers, or the latest iPhone. Does your mentee understand the difference? A subtle way to find out is by sharing this activity with them. You can also watch this video that explains needs vs. wants to elementary age mentees or this video aimed at middle school or high school age mentees.
For more financial literacy lessons, these internet activities can easily be shared with your mentee on your phone or computer while visiting them during lunch. As with every activity we share, it is best to review the content before you engage in it with your mentee.
A huge thank you to Alyssa Najar, Financial Representative for Modern Woodmen of America, for sharing their comprehensive Financial Literacy classroom curriculum with Seedling mentors. Lessons such as delayed gratification, how borrowing works, understanding credit cards and saving for something are just a few of the topics included. If you would like to explore this curriculum for your mentee, your Mentor Director will be happy to help.