Whether you are in your prime or just starting out, learning financial literacy is key to overall success.
But while a lot of us are scrambling to learn the lessons that will keep our finances on track, we should also think about how we can pass lessons on to the next generation.
You don’t have to wait until school starts to teach your child about finances. Believe it or not, you can start by selecting the right cartoons that will educate and entertain them at the same time.
Everything about life is meant to teach us something. And what better way to teach your kids about saving and spending than through their favorite shows?
2 cartoon shows that teach great lessons about money
Kids are like sponges when it comes to absorbing information. So, the earlier you teach them important lessons, the more likely they will insert them into their adult life. One of the toughest yet most important types of educational lessons they need is financial. Since money talk can be a bit complex, teaching them through a language they will understand is the best way to go about it.
Given that, here are two modern cartoon shows that can help you teach your kids about the relevance of money. Later on, we will reveal two classic cartoons you can also use to enhance your child’s knowledge on this important topic.
Dora the Explorer
Who doesn’t know and love Dora, the little adventurer who goes everywhere? Your child could easily get caught up in her escapades. But why not add a lesson about questioning things to their experience?
The show is filled with teachings about colors, shapes, numbers, and values. One of the most valuable takeaways is to always ask when you do not understand something. It may not directly be a financial topic, but it’s a fundamental practice you should instill in your child.
It’s important to teach them not to do something simply because everyone else is doing it. Following suit without questioning why is asking for trouble. Make sure they understand where the road leads before deciding to follow it.
Dora also teaches us to think ahead. Remember how every adventure starts with a map and a plan? That is also how financial goals need to be approached.
Your child should create an agenda, set up markers for their progress, and focus on one path at a time. The entire journey may seem daunting. By dividing it up, they can accomplish things step by step to avoid becoming overwhelmed by information overload.
Lastly, Dora teaches viewers to rely on tools for help. She knows what she needs to lead her to the next destination. Let your son or daughter know what these are in their life and guide them on how to properly use them.
Phineas and Ferb
Another popular cartoon show that can teach young viewers about life, in general, is Phineas and Ferb. Like Dora, it may not provide direct money-related topics, but it teaches another valuable lesson: enjoy the journey.
It’s not always about reaching your goal. Sometimes it’s what you learn along the way. A part of life is grasping new lessons and making mistakes. Let your kids know that this is a normal part of life and to be expected. Sometimes, making mistakes can provide a valuable lesson and redirect us to where we need to be.
No matter how difficult the quest is, it’s hard not to admire how Phineas and Ferb deal with every project they make. This enthusiasm is something that could rub off on kids.
Even if you are obligated to do something, it’s more fulfilling when you find a way to enjoy the process. With your child looking toward a future of tedious budgeting, spending sacrifices, and a lot of financial planning, it helps to approach these topics with gusto.
Teach them that they shouldn’t be too hard on themselves. Instead, they should try to enjoy the ride and make the best out of every situation. Making lemonade out of lemons might sound trite, but its message is invaluable and often applicable to a less-than-ideal situation.
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2 classic animated shows that teach money smarts
Here’s a blast from the past that should help teach your kids about money.
The Road Runner Show
If your kids enjoy Tom and Jerry, they will likely love the antics on this one. Despite his personality, Wylie Coyote can actually teach your kids a couple of things about personal finance. In fact, you can find several financial lessons that the creators probably never even realized they were addressing.
First of all, the character of Wylie Coyote can teach viewers to focus on the goal and success, not the failures. You have to hand it to this coyote, no matter the setback he never gave up. He’s been blown up, fallen off high cliffs, and reduced to puffs of smoke every time – and yet he still persists in trying to catch the road runner.
Persistence and keeping your eye on the prize will help you reach your financial goals. And no matter what other people might think, trying something different is the best way to intellectually grow.
He also puts risk-takers to shame. While we want our kids to be cautious with their money, there is less to gain unless they are willing to try new things. Educate your kids about the difference between taking a chance when the potential for success is high or making a huge mistake.
Lastly, although he did not practice it, Wylie Coyote taught us to be wary of gimmicks. Your child may be impressed by flashy or shortcut solutions, but in some financial situations that is not the best course of action. All the gimmicks that the coyote fell for ended up failing him. Teach your child not to do the same.
Did you ever think you could learn anything from Homer Simpson? The financial lessons in this cartoon show are laced with humor, but the principles are still there. Most of Homer’s actions are a lesson in what not to do with your money, so be careful in translating them to your children.
In one episode, this father of three said, “Buy low and sell high.” He got the concept of stock trading quite easily. This might be a bit advanced for your child, but you should be able to determine when this lesson is appropriate.
Of course, Homer Simpson can be seen frequenting his favorite bar, Moe’s Tavern. Descriptions of the show state that he spends most of his money here—which is a huge no-no.
While we want to plan like Dora, persevere like Wylie Coyote, and enjoy life as Phineas and Ferb do, we also want to avoid being too reckless like Homer. Make sure your child understands the difference between needs and wants and how to prioritize.
Teaching the basics
All these cartoon shows will require you to point out the lessons to your child. So why not set aside time to watch an episode with them? Whenever you see the opportunity, make simple analogies to help teach them financial lessons that they can apply to life. There are also quite a number of websites you can check out for ideas.
For instance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Money as you Grow” tool can help build your child’s money skills and help you determine if they are reaching age-appropriate milestones.
Kids perceive cartoons as pure fun. They may not even realize that you are teaching them important lessons they need for life.