Kids watch you make choices every day, whether you’re preparing breakfast or shopping at the store. Throughout the day, look for opportunities to make choices. Encourage kids to explain why they are making particular choices, and help them understand the reasons behind their decisions.

Here are some ways to practice making decisions:

  • Getting dressed: Encourage kids to talk about choices by laying out a few possible options. While they decide what to wear, consider the weather, favorite colors, or other reasons to choose certain clothes. (“What’s the best choice for you today?”)
  • Indoor and outdoor playtime: Do kids want to play with blocks, a puzzle, or a ball? At the playground, do they want to go down the slide or use the monkey bars? (“Why did you choose _______?”)
  • Meal preparations: When making a meal, involve the kids. For example, they can choose which mixing bowl to use for a salad. (“That’s a good choice to use the big mixing bowl—we are making a large salad, and that size will be perfect!”)

Along with these everyday decision-making moments, highlight the fact that families make choices every time they spend money. Here are some opportunities to expand upon financial literacy for kids and help them make better choices:

  • Trips to the store: Talk about why you are choosing one item rather than another. (“Let’s get bananas. Good choice! They are healthy, tasty, and on sale—that means they cost less money!”)
  • During family time: While you’re together, talk about choosing not to spend. (“Let’s play in the sprinkler today instead of going to the water park. It doesn’t cost money, and we’ll have fun right in our backyard.”)
  • On the way home: You can point out money choices with simple statements. (“We need gas. The station a few blocks away has a better price, so we’ll go there.”)