Post written by Emily Houska, Marketing Officer
You’re probably asking yourself, “How does the Tooth Fairy have anything to do with a blog for Stockman Bank?” Well, let me explain…
The other day, my oldest daughter, who is 5, had to get two front teeth pulled in order to provide enough room for her permanent tooth that was already well on its way.
Before the appointment, we had a few discussions about what to expect so she wouldn’t be too alarmed or afraid of what was going to happen. I soon learned that she had something more important on her mind than the dentist.
In the days preceding her appointment, my daughter excitedly told me that she couldn’t wait to get her baby teeth pulled. She said, “Mom, I’m almost about to have happy tears because I’m so excited to have grown up teeth now, and the Tooth Fairy is going to come to my house!” The Tooth Fairy!
I had almost forgotten that this would be another one of my “side-jobs” as a mom. My husband and I already had experience as Santa Claus (and the reindeer) and the Easter Bunny. But the fantasy world of the Tooth Fairy was new and my daughter’s expectations were big!
One day, she said, “Mom, I think the tooth fairy is going to bring me like a hundred dollars, maybe, I don’t know.” Then, a couple of days later, she declared, “Mom, I think the tooth fairy brings GOLD!! Gold Coins!”
I remembered back to my days as a teller at Stockman, where we had rolls of gold-colored dollar coins. This was perfect! I can’t make $100 happen, but I can make gold coins appear!
As expected, the actual appointment was not very fun. We felt so bad about all those shots of Novocain and having two teeth pulled.
To let her know how proud the Tooth Fairy was that she was so strong and brave at the dentist, my husband and I decided for this first tooth fairy experience, she was going to get a few extra coins – five in fact – plus a $5 bill, and two new books we happened to have on hand.
The next morning, she was so excited to see the Tooth Fairy had really come and her eyes just lit up when she saw those gold coins! Before she left for school that morning, she was determined to find a “safe” place to store and save her new gold coins! I was really proud of her for wanting to save some of her tooth fairy money.
I used to wonder when the right time would be to start teaching my girls about money. After playing my part as the Tooth Fairy, I realized that some of the best financial lessons for a young child can be part of our everyday experiences with them.
We can look for opportunities to talk about money in ways that make sense to them, and by doing this, we’ll be slowly teaching them financial lessons that will last a lifetime.
Here are some simple examples from the American Bankers Association® of teachable moments for children of all ages to help you get started:
At the bank:
When you go to the bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work.
Get the manager to explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest and how an ATM works. Ask the manager for a tour—be sure to ask to see the vault.
Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food and clothing, and how a portion is saved for future expenses such as college tuition and retirement.
At the market:
It’s easy to give clear examples of “needs” and “wants” using different kinds of foods at a grocery store. Milk (for strong bones) is a need; soft drinks are a want.
Explain the benefits of comparison shopping, coupons and store brands.
Chores and allowances:
Assign chores and give them a monetary value. Discuss ways to budget and divide allowances. Encourage children to set a financial goal, such as saving for a bike, and figure out how to achieve it.
Explain the many ways that bills can be paid. That may be over the phone, paper or by check, electronic check or online check draft. Discuss how each method of bill pay takes money out of your account.
Be sure to cover late penalties, emphasizing the importance of paying bills on time.
Using credit cards:
Explain that credit cards are a loan and need to be repaid. Share how each month a credit card statement comes in the mail with a bill. Go over the features of different types of cards, such as ATM, debit and credit cards.
Browsing the Internet:
While online, explain to your children how valuable their personal information and privacy is to you, to them and to online predators. Discuss the risks and benefits of sharing certain information.
Then, as a family, make a list of rules for keeping personal information safe online.
Planning a vacation:
Whether you are planning an outing to a local amusement park or a once-in-a-lifetime trip, emphasize the value of saving as a family. Set a family savings goal that involves your children. Figure out the cost and discuss ways everyone can help to reach the goal.