7 signs your kids are actually learning about money

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While kids are hardly ever too young to start learning about money, there are some signs you'll see as they get older that they've been grasping the concepts you've been teaching.

They might start bringing it up, looking for ways to save, or even asking questions you're not quite sure of the answer to - and that's completely expected. After all, it means they're learning. If your child is doing these seven things as they start to understand money, they're probably grasping the lessons you're teaching them.

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They understand how to comparison shop and look for a deal

They understand how to comparison shop and look for a deal

If your child is starting to understand the value of money, they're probably also soon going to be thinking of ways to save it.

Laura Levine, CEO of financial literacy group JumpStart Coalition, says that looking for opportunities to save is one way that a child will show you they've been paying attention to money lessons. "Did they pay full retail, or did they use a coupon, or did they wait for a sale?" asks Levine. If they're thinking about saving money, they might just be grasping the concepts.

They know how to handle money you've given them

They know how to handle money you've given them

When you give them money, they use it well. Whether they get an allowance or are just getting a few dollars for an occasion, notice how they spend it. If they're buying things the smart way, they might have been paying attention to your money lessons.

"One of the things that we like to see families do is give their kids some room to manage money so you can see how they do with it," Levine says. This is how they'll use some of the things they've learned, like comparison shopping and how to buy things on sale, and it's how you'll really be able to tell if they've been listening.

"It isn't so much watching like what they buy, but how they make those financial decisions," says Levine.

They understand what it means to give money

They understand what it means to give money

If your child is understanding the power of giving money away, they likely are starting to understand some of the basic concepts.

A study by the University of Arizona shows that learning to give money is one of the most powerful financial lessons for them. The data shows a positive correlation between giving money away and a child's personal well-being.

And while it might be one of the harder lessons for a child to learn, the fact that they're understanding what it means is a sign that they understand just how much power a piece of paper or metal can have.

You can talk about money casually in your daily life

You can talk about money casually in your daily life

The best thing you can do to teach your kids about money is to bring it up whenever you're able. And that means that there are lots of learning opportunities out there.

Financial planner Colin Moynahan says he saw a scenario in a hardware store that made him think about how kids learn about money, and how important it is to bring it up whenever possible. "This little boy wanted a shovel or something. The mom said, 'You can get the shovel, but that's the next five weeks of your allowance,'" Moynahan says. "He's like, 'Five weeks?' It totally blew his mind."

In this very everyday setting, this parent was able to teach her child about something very abstract in a tangible way he could understand. "It's important to put value that they understand in terms that they understand," says Moynahan. And that makes the lesson all the more meaningful.

They know why saving is important

They know why saving is important

For many kids, saving isn't naturally high on the priority list. But if your child is starting to see the importance of saving, they've probably learned something.

As a parent and a financial educator, Levine says that "we want to see that they made the money last. We want to see that they saved some for later." And once kids start to see the value of keeping money for later, they can start to understand the importance of tools like a savings account for making that happen.

They've struggled with it

They've struggled with it

Money lessons aren't always the easiest to learn, even for adults. So if it's taking your child a little bit longer than you thought to grasp these concepts, they're still probably on the right track.

Levine says that it will likely take some time, and not every money lesson will make sense on the first try. "For us as parents, the hardest thing is to step back and let them struggle a little bit," she says. "But in the long run it's, it's the best thing."

While it might not be easy to watch them struggle with these concepts, it's part of the learning process.

You're learning something, too

You're learning something, too

If your kids are really grasping the concepts of what you're teaching, chances are that they'll eventually start asking questions you might not be able to answer off the top of your head.

And for Levine, this is an excellent opportunity to say, "Let's go look this up online and let's do it together."

And Levine makes it clear that it doesn't take an expert. Anyone can start teaching their kids about money basics. "It isn't just top-down learning. It is sometimes learning together," she says.

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