It's never too soon to teach kids to make good financial choices - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

It's never too soon to teach kids to make good financial choices


MADISON (WKOW) --  Lots of children these days have that ATM mentality - that money comes from a machine. The Presidents Council on Financial Literacy is trying to change that.

Margarette Burnette's boys Christian and Charles love to count change... and she says they like spending it, too.

"They just see all the commercials and everything and they just want to spend. They want to go to the store."

But she's a penny pincher, even blogging about saving on her website, "Coupons and Kids." She wants her children to learn early they can't buy everything they see.

"It's more important than ever right now... if we had taught the lessons and learned the lessons in the good times, then maybe it wouldn't hurt so bad now," says Burnette.

Business professor Dr. Kathleen Connell of UC-Berkeley says there are some great websites that help parents get across the message on money. For toddlers and young children like Christian and Charles, she recomments

"On that website are very simple stories, puzzles, coloring books, that help a child learn what spending is about," she says.

For children a little older, is a hit. It's like a virtual world of money.

" is set up as a global world where there's a savings island, a spending island, an investing island, and a rewards island," says Dr. Connell.

Children in middle school and older may enjoy KidsBank.Com, "which appeals to their more sophisticated sense of money and tells them why money is important in terms of what they want," notes Dr. Connell.

And is geared toward high schoolers, says Dr. Connell: "They can set aside money which they earn for items they want to purchase, both short and long term. It teaches them about college financing."

That's a little far off for Margarette, but she loves the concept.

"My kids love the computer anyway, they're going to be on there to play games, so I'd love for them to have things soon there to teach them."

One word of caution: the sites we mentioned will not ask you for money. Dr. Connell recommends you avoid sites that do. Most of the sites in our piece do not ask for personal information, but allow your child to simply choose a character and follow them.

Make sure to check the privacy policy on any site you or your child visit.


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