As a dad, I know that I have a great responsibility in teaching my children about money. My oldest son (5) gets an allowance for performing chores that include putting dishes away, picking up the play room, vacuuming out the van, dusting, and putting his folded clothes away. We've started these small steps in order to show him that even as a child he needs to help out the family. This way when he gets older, we can pile on the responsibilities and have the kids do everything! :) By giving him chores to do and a small allowance, we hope to teach him to save up for things he wants. We often have a problem (who doesn't) when going to the store, particularly the toy section, and him asking for things. We typically ask, “Did you bring your money with you?” or “Do you have enough saved up?” This way its shifts the responsibility to him and puts him way ahead of the curve. It has worked out great and reduces our stress. Many adults don't even think about finances until they are staring at their tax preparation software in mid-April, so we are very proud.
In addition to earning an allowance, we encourage him to do things on his own to earn money. This year, we are helping him setup his first lemonade stand during our annual neighborhood garage sale to have some fun and earn some extra money at the same time. From this, my hope is that he will learn to save some money, give some, and also enjoy it (with toys or activities).
For our family, we also want him to learn to give some of his money to the church as well. For any child this is hard to do, but he has come around and there have even been a few Sunday mornings where he decided to give more than what we have agreed he should. We hope that in starting this early, it will be a natural part of what he does with money.
Here is a short video where I interviewed my son and asked him a few questions about money. Enjoy his childlike perspective.