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Teach Your Child to Balance a Checkbook

There is no doubt that balancing a checkbook should be near the top of your list of priorities to teach your children. You really never think about it, of course, until they get into their teens, have a job and want their very own checkbook.

But the sooner they learn about balancing a checkbook the better, yet this is an age appropriate lesson. Children don’t actually begin to subtract multiple digits until they are at least in the third grade, therefore this lesson is for children from the 4th grade on up.

Grades 4th through High School
One of the best ways to teach your children is to give them an opportunity to interact with your checkbook duties. When your child travels with you to the grocery store or other shopping venture you can simply ask them to write down the total purchase amount in the balance book. Start them out with simple little tasks once you get home from the grocery store, ask them to take the total purchase amount and subtract it by the last amount that is listed on the checkbook.

Provide them with a scratch sheet of paper to do this, and ask them for the total they came up with. Many times children love to help their parents and when they feel they can do something as super as their parents can they are eager to continue. The next few times you go shopping do the same thing, ask them to write down the total purchase amount in the balance book then, when you get home, ask them to subtract that amount from the last amount shown.

This will ease your child into the process of balancing the book. Once you have done this a few times, over a short period of time, it’s time to sit down with your child and show them what they have done without knowing, balancing a checkbook.

You can then begin to provide the remainder of the details; today we placed a check in the bank for $500.00, we went to the store Monday and spent $75.00, which took our total amount left in the bank at $425.00. We then spent another $45.00 at the store on Wednesday, bringing our total amount to $380.00, and just today we spent another $80.00 so we currently have?

While you are explaining the dollar amounts show them the lines in which you have written your deposits and withdrawals. Be sure to take it slow so your children can fully understand the concept. Once they do, they’ll probably ask you if they can do it every week.

Main points to address:

  • Take it slow.
  • Ease them into writing the amounts down without them knowing what they are doing.
  • Offer a step-by-step direction for keeping track of every dollar spent.
  • Explain the importance of balancing as opposed to forgetting and bouncing checks and what that type of behavior will lead to (with the charges today for a bounced check that can really add up for just a few.)

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Education.

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