Coming off a successful Kickstarter, Money Monsters: The Missing Money is here to teach kids about handling their money – and to trust that chompy ATM machine.
Kai is a little boy who’s very excited: he has a bunch of money from his Chinese New Year red envelopes, and Dad’s promised to take him to the bank to deposit it! But – holy cow – they don’t even get into the bank when A GIANT ATM MONSTER EATS HIS MONEY! Kai is not happy about this turn of events, and puts together a plan to get his money back. When he lets his parents know, though, they’re not terribly concerned: in fact, they tell him that his money is safe and sound, and that an ATM keeps his money safe until he’s ready to use it again. They even show him a nifty phone app where he can check on his money any time he wants!
The Missing Money is an adorable introduction to money management for younger kids. “Happy Lawyer” Okeoma Moronu Schreiner is a corporate finance attorney and mom, and has a wonderful storytelling voice here. The Missing Money is a realistic, fun, and approachable way to introduce kids to money management: banks, ATMs, and bank apps! A key words section introduces new vocabulary, and conversation starters help families and caregivers start talking about money. Sandhya Prabhat’s hand-painted and digital illustrations are bright, bold, and adorable! Kai is a biracial child of color with an Asian father and brown-skinned mother, and lives in what looks like an urban environment.
A great way to start talking to our little ones about saving those pennies (and dollars). I’m looking forward to seeing other Money Monsters Ms. Schreiner and Ms. Sandhya Prabhat have in store!
How did financial literacy for young people become a passion of yours?
Before I was a personal finance junkie, I was an elementary school teacher. I guess you could say that I’ve always had a passion for translating seemingly complex concepts into fun, educational content.
What advice do you have for parents interested in starting these financial discussions with their children?
Do it early and often.
Why is it important to start these money talks with your children at a young age?
The earlier you start these conversations the more comfortable you’ll be having them throughout the many seasons of parenthood. Truth is that the conversations will only get tougher and tougher as your children get older so you want to develop the language and comfort before it’s too late. Your children are internalizing “stories” and beliefs about money that may not be true and have the potential of impacting their financial lives forever. If we, as parents, don’t help shape those stories and beliefs, our children will create their own.
What are some concrete steps parents can take while their children are young to start their children out on the right financial path?
Take the time to involve them in your everyday money decisions. Whether it’s choosing between two products at the grocery store or choosing not to spend on something in order to save for a bigger goal, children will benefit from understanding how money decisions are made in everyday situations.
Speak to them about in values, not figures. In our house, our kids know that the environment is very important to us so we’ll pay more for a product that is more sustainable and/or eco-friendly. Help your little ones understand your family’s values and how your money supports and reflects those values.
Teach them contentment. This is a hard lesson that can take a lifetime to learn. In order to get your little one off on the right foot you can lead by example, help your children practice gratitude and teach them the value of giving.