Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Making the Bank Fun for Our Five-year-old

I rarely see people with small children at the bank these days.  I know it’s easier to just pop by the ATM or hit the drive thru teller, but personally, I feel that going to the bank should be a somewhat special experience for kids.  I remember going to the bank with my mother and the impression it made upon me.  The big walk-in safe, all the tellers, the counting and transacting of money, the sound of the coin counter -- they were all unique and interesting experiences to me as a kid.  Therefore, I want my kids to grow up appreciating, understanding and looking forward to going to the bank, and I try to do certain things when we go to make it a fun experience, especially for our five-year-old.

Checking the Coin Sorter
My son and I have made it a game when we go for walks around town to see who can find the most loose change on the sidewalks.  Therefore, he has learned the value of a nickel or even a penny.  So when we go to the bank, where there is an automated coin sorter that customers can use, whether or not we’re changing in any coins, he heads over to check the coin sorter return bin.  Here he has found pennies, nickels, dimes, Canadian coins, and even Euro coins.  It’s not only a fun way for him to find money for his piggy bank but to learn about the coins of other countries as well.

Sorting Coins
But then there are the times when we actually get to sort our spare change at the bank’s coin machine.  It’s really neat…even for an adult.  We get to dump our change into the coin sorting area.  It goes up this cool conveyor belt and into the machine where it gets processed.  We then get to watch our total amount add up on a computer screen while we wait, and finally we get a printout receipt that we take to the bank teller to receive our cash.  The whole process is an event and one that both my son and I look forward to doing together. 

Interesting Coins and Paper Money
I find more than just foreign coins and loose change at the bank to interest my son though.  When we conduct our transactions, I often look for ways to make the exchange memorable and interesting for him.  This may involve a simple, yet cool for a five-year-old, purchase of a 50 cent piece, Eisenhower dollar coin, Susan B. Anthony coin, presidential dollar coin, or a $2 bill.  While these items might not sound like much to an adult, they can be super cool to a kid and something that adds to his appreciation for and interest in money.

Candy of Course
And then of course there is the candy…a long-time tradition of going to the bank.  As a kid, I used to get a piece of gum.  Now they put little baskets of multi-colored suckers on the counter for kids.  While it might not sound like much, it’s just one more enticement to get our young one to the bank and help formulate his interest in money and his personal finances.


The author is not a licensed financial or parenting professional.  The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind.  Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.

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