The pandemic has tested people's normal modes of operation, money management included as many faced sudden unemployment or a business' bottomed-out bottom line.

Children ages 3-9 can get the tools for fiscal fortitude at the Piggy Bank Pageant via Zoom on April 13, sponsored by the Economic Awareness Council in partnership with the Hinsdale Public Library and Hinsdale Bank and Trust in observance of Financial Literacy Month. (Please see listing in Calendar for information.)

Tracy Frizzell, executive director of the EAC and a Hinsdale resident, said the program will feature crafts, songs and games, including decorating a personal piggy bank. She said the last year underscores the value of planting such seeds of responsibility early.

"It's been a time when everyone sees the value of having some stability and emergency savings," she said. "Starting young with financial literacy can be incredibly helpful in building good habits for earning, saving and delayed gratification that can last many years."

Frizzell offered several tips for parents.

• Teach kids to save

"Saving really is such a key, tangible way for youth to build that discipline that can really pay off in terms of working for something and getting a reward down the road," Frizzell said. "If you can, help your youth set a goal of whatever it is they want and put aside funds toward that.

• Bank at any age

"Making deposits and saving toward a goal is a great lesson," she remarked, acknowledging that the digital revolution has altered the way banking is done. "Many local financial institutions have great youth saving products. It can really be a fun experience, especially if you celebrate it with rewards and give some positive attention."

• Be honest about money

"It's important to let children know there are some things we can afford and some things that we can't, or that we have to save up for as a family," Frizzell said. "Pointing out at a young age there are often choices to be made can really help youth down the road."

• Bring kids along shopping

In an increasingly on-demand world, it's important children understand the concept of scarcity and that choices have to made, Frizzell said.

"Show them how you consider the cost per unit and think about how much you have to spend on the groceries," Frizzell said.

• Incentivize home chores

Kids should be rewarded for helping with the laundry or cleaning up the house, she suggested. The amount could be small, especially for young children.

"Getting money is exciting for them, even it's not a lot of money," Frizzell said.

Fellow Hinsdalean Alyssa Guido will lead the program, and kids will be able to pick up a goodie bag with supplies prior to pageant day.

"It should be a really fun and interactive day," Frizzell said. "I want them to come away with a better understanding of just what money is, how you have to work to earn it and the value of being really thoughtful about what you do with money - both for saving and for spending,"

- by Ken Knutson

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean