My husband hands him a coin, Baby Verity gasps with surprise and pleasure, and then slips the coin into the slot behind Buddha’s head. He raises his hands in triumph; we cheer.

Baby Verity is now a toddler. He has learned to walk, talk, run, climb stairs and furniture and feed himself. Now he is learning to save money in a little game we like to call “Feed Buddha.”

“Buddha” is a cool plastic bank I found online several years ago. Before Baby Verity came along, it was a way of getting our loose change under control. Now it has become part of our come-home-after-work ritual with our son.

When we get home, we are greeted with shrieks of “Mommy! Daddy!” After “helping” Daddy remove his shoes, my husband takes out his pocket change for the day and tells Baby Verity, “Let’s feed Buddha!”

saving_smallBaby Verity runs to the Buddha bank (which has moved from the kitchen counter to an end table so he can reach it). My husband hands him a coin, Baby Verity gasps with surprise and pleasure, and then slips the coin into the slot behind Buddha’s head. He raises his hands in triumph; we cheer. This happens with every coin he feeds Buddha. Sometimes, he even rubs Buddha’s belly after all his coins have been deposited. The word “money” has recently entered his vocabulary.

At 17-months, Baby Verity thinks money is just part of a fun game he plays with his parents, but I like to think that, somehow, we are encouraging the concept that saving money can be a good, positive, fun experience. Of course, games like this won’t cut it when he gets older and starts to realize that he needs money to buy that toy, or game or the pair of tennis shoes all the other kids are wearing, but it’s a start.

Are there any parents out there doing creative things to teach their kids about money? I’d love to hear about what you’re doing to show your kids that money doesn’t grow on trees– and I bet others would, too.

Laurel McJannet

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