This is a guest post by Annie Harrington, a small business owner and freelance writer who is also keenly interested in all aspects of finance and design, including how to personalize checks.
I grew up watching my parents write personal checks at the store, and balancing their checkbooks every weekend at the kitchen table. The day I got my first checkbook was one of those rare “rite of passage” moments that made me feel a little more like an adult, but one thing I quickly realized was that I didn’t really understand how to manage my money properly or balance a checkbook, because I never learned and I was never taught. As a result of that experience I want to do all that I can to give my children the tools they need to succeed.
As parents we know that our kids have a lot to learn before they’re ready to venture out on their own, and it’s our responsibility to teach them those life lessons so they can be successful. One of the best lessons we can teach our kids before they get too old is how to manage their money properly. It’s a life lesson that can take a little bit of time for kids to grasp, so starting early is the best way to ensure they fully understand it before they’re out on their own.
Although there are many ways we can teach our kids money management one of my favorite methods is with “fake” check templates — click here or here for an example — because they allow for a hands on, tangible approach to money management that teaches more than just fake cash or piggy banks.
With a check template you’re able to teach your children all aspects of the check writing process. From filling out the appropriate “pay to the order of” information, to including the date, a memo, and a signature on the bottom, check templates allow you to go beyond the typical money management lesson by giving you the ability to break down each portion into a mini-lesson of its own. For example you can discuss the value of good handwriting and give your kids a fun way to practice. Another lesson you could teach is dollars and cents, how to calculate simple math in the head, and the importance of dates.
Not only can you teach these mini lessons but you can attach them to the overall goal of money management. By giving your kids a set of play checks you’re able to then pay them “play dollars”, for completing chores and other tasks, which they can stash in their piggy bank or deposit in their IOU account at a virtual family bank like FamZoo. Once they have enough play dollars saved up they’ll have the option to use their checkbook to buy rewards like extra TV time, new toys, or anything else you might decide.
Play checks are a fun exercise that gives you the ability to incorporate lessons for account monitoring, as well as checkbook balancing, so you can cover all the bases of money management at once. Unlike other lessons, this one can continue for days, weeks, months or even years. The more your kids practice, the better they’ll be. If they have a healthy respect for their earnings when they’re young it will be easy for them to carry that over to the real world when they’re older.
This was a guest post by Annie Harrington.