As a parent, the number one goal at the end of the line is to raise your children to be independent adults. There are several components to total independence, for example, self-care, life skills, job skills, self-advocacy, and financial responsibility.
How to Teach Kids & Teens with ADHD to be Responsible with Money
In order to grow into a financially responsible adult, you need to start teaching kids about money while they’re young.
In fact, a study at the University of Cambridge found that children’s money habits are formed by the time they’re 7 years old.
If your child has special needs, they may or may not have the potential to be 100% independent as adults. But – your job as a parent is to teach them to be as independent as possible.
Why Teaching Kids About Money Matters for ASD & ADHD Children
Children with ASD or ADHD usually have executive dysfunction. This means, compared to their peers, they’re typically about 30% behind when it comes to things like critical thinking, problem-solving, goal setting & execution, time management, organization, etc.
So, because of that delay, it’s important to start teaching kids about money and financial responsibility early.
It may take them longer to understand these concepts than it does for their peers. It may also take longer for them to develop the foresight required to plan ahead and efficiently budget as an adult.
Parents often don’t think about these things with their kids because so much of their focus goes into more pressing and immediate issues.
For example, you may be working extra hard to teach your child how to communicate their wants and needs, or how to help your child focus on their school work.
With so much effort going into these day to day tasks, teaching your kids about money may end up on the back burner.
It’s important to stop and think about little things you can do each day to teach financial responsibility.
How to Start Teaching Kids About Money
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to teaching kids about money. How you start will depend on your child’s age and abilities
You need to keep the concepts easily understandable for your child. Then you can expand on their knowledge over time.
Some concepts about money to teach your child
There are many components to financial independence. Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider teaching your child.
Strategies for Teaching Money to Kids with ADHD
This is an overview of some strategies parents can use to teach their children about money from an early age. When choosing strategies to help your own children, it’s important to start with concepts that will be easy for your child to understand and have success with.
1. Model Appropriate Money Habits
Children are easily influenceable. It’s important for parents to start teaching kids about money by modeling financial responsibility themselves and involving your child.
2. Give Them Both Chores and Responsibilities
It’s important for children to learn the difference between their responsibilities, and work. You can teach them this by expecting them to have and do both.
Responsibilities are tasks they have to do. Chores are tasks they can do to earn money.
Happy Homemaking covers the importance of this concept for all children in their smart money article.
As adults, we’re responsible for keeping our houses clean, taking care of our personal hygiene, taking care of our kids, paying bills, etc. We don’t get paid to do these things, we do them because we have to.
As adults, we also go to work to earn money. We do get paid for work tasks and it’s good for kids to learn the difference from early on.
Examples of Responsibilities for Children
Examples of Chores for Children
3. Pay Them Only For The Work They Do
Don’t give your child a set allowance that they get every week. Your child shouldn’t be given money just for existing
. Instead, their allowance should be paid based on the actual work they’ve completed. So, if they do nothing they get nothing. And the more they do, the more they make.
This needs to be an organized and consistent system.
This will help your child learn that when they get paid they need to spend wisely and make their money last until their next payday. It’ll also teach them that if they need more money for something, like that new video game they want, they’ll need to put in some extra work.
4. Require Them to Save Money
Decide on an amount your child should save and “deduct” that from their pay. This should be a predetermined percentage of their earning that you set aside for them in a high-interest savings account.
As adults, we have many deductions on our paychecks that don’t get saved for us for later. These savings or “deductions” should be put away for when your child is an adult.
A good general rule would be to put 30% of their earnings into a savings account for them and let them choose how they spend the remainder.
5. Use a Clear Jar for a Piggy Bank
Dave Ramsey recommends using a clear jar as a piggy bank for children that are saving money. This gives children a visual oh what they’ve saved. It’s motivating to watch the jar fill up with more and more money.
If your child wants to buy a big-ticket item, they should save up for it over time. What they chose to save is in addition to the required savings you’ve already deducted for their savings account.
6. Help Them Make Their Own Budget
As your child grasps more concepts surrounding financial responsibility you can help them make their own little budget. They can use their budget to estimate their monthly earnings (based on the work they’ve been doing and logging), and to plan what they can afford to buy, and how much they should save for big purchases, etc.
It’s a good idea to start doing a monthly budget with your child as soon as they are mature enough to understand the concepts behind the budget. Budgeting is a crucial skill that many adults can’t even do well.
Choosing Appropriate Chores
There’s no such thing as “age-appropriate chore” or age-appropriate anything for that matter, when your child has ASD, ADHD, or other special needs.
It’s important to choose developmentally appropriate chores. Ideally, you should select household chores for your child that they can do well on their own, or if that’s not possible, with very little assistance from you. What that looks like exactly will be an individual thing.
This also creates opportunities for your child to learn new things around the house and take on more responsibility as they become able.
Use visuals and task strips to break down chores visually. This will ensure your child’s success.
Visual Resources for Chores:
These are some resources created by myself or others that you can download and use to help break down responsibilities and chores for your child.
Tracking & Paying Your Child’s Earnings
You need to put a system in place that will make it easy to track which chores your child completed, and how much they’ve earned. This system should be simple enough that your child can look it over and understand it as well.
You need to set up a savings account for your child and decide if you’ll also get them a debit card to use or pay the remainder of their allowance in cash. I do recommend using cash because it helps make the concept of money more “real”.
Financial Responsibility Workbook – For Kids
This workbook is designed for elementary school-aged children. For preteens and teens, see the app below.
You can track your child’s responsibilities, chores, and earnings with the financial responsibility workbook. You can also work with your child on creating a monthly budget for them with a simple budget sheet. Plus, help them create and reach savings goals.
The Financial Responsibility Workbook includes:
After you download the worksheets, go through and fill in the blanks with developmentally appropriate chores and earnings.
A rule of thumb is that children should earn between $0.50-1.00 per year of age, each week. So if your child is 8 they should be able to earn between $4.00 and $8.00 per week if they complete their chores.
For us, most chores are worth 50 cents each, with a couple of the bigger jobs being worth $1.00. My son is able to complete 2 paid chores per day if his responsibilities are also completed.
Have a preteen or teen?
If you’re working on teaching financial responsibility to older kids, there is an online app called Wallit that’s designed to help you, while also teaching teens about banking.
The app is designed to help families with teens manage money, budgeting, saving, chores, etc. You can set allowances, assign chores and then approve them for payment, and see the whole families spending habits.
You can even indicate within the app which percentage of your child’s allowance goes to a savings account, which percentage is for spending, and which percentage is for them to save for a bigger purchase they want. The app integrates with your online banking app.
When your child’s bank account is connected to the Wallit app they can only spend the amount you’ve approved so they can’t dip into savings or overdraw their accounts.