How do you help your child understand money?

March 19, 2019

Math teachers are often surprised at how little students understand money in the real world.  As soon as a math skill needs to be applied to a situational word problem involving money, many children really struggle.  Some of that is because of the added requirement of reading comprehension, but that’s not all of it.  Students need more financial literacy woven into their everyday lives.

Looking for ideas?  Here are a few things you can do when you go out to eat with your children:

  • Talk about jobs vs. careers.  Talk about how one moves up from one position to another.  Talk about how salaries increase with more education, and with more responsibility.  Talk about how investing in an education comes back in income for so many years.
  • Look around the restaurant and talk about all the things that need to be paid… the staff, the electricity, the rent, the food supplies, the heat, the air conditioning, the kitchen supplies (pots, pans, etc.), cleaning supplies, etc.  Talk about how what you pay for that cheeseburger pays for all of those things, not just the ground beef and the bun.
  • Before the bill comes, estimate the total.  Discuss how you can round to make that easier.  It’s always a good idea to have a rough number of how much you have spent so you notice when a mistake has been made.   See who can get closest with their estimate!
  • Once the bill is there, talk about how in our country, tipping is a portion of a server’s pay, and it is often shared with others like busboys, etc.  Teach your children how to find 10% of a number by just moving the decimal one place over.  20% would be double that number.  It’s easy once you know how.  Help them build the skills.

Look for opportunities for your children to learn when they aren’t with you.  Participation in TREP$ is one way to provide a fun way for kids to apply math skills in an authentic situation. Contact us to learn how to get TREP$ at your child’s school!

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