Thursday, October 18, 2007

Our Three-Year Old Makes Her First Purchase

Since our three year old daughter accompanies her mom on grocery store trips, she understands the basic process of making a purchase - choose the products, get in line, and pay the cashier. Also, she recognizes money, although she doesn't always correctly identify the name/amount of the coin or bill. Recently, I thought it would be good to let her make a purchase transaction.

At a local farm harvest festival, we always stop at the pumpkin patch to choose our Halloween pumpkin. This year, I let our daughter choose one. She chose a small one, about the size of a lemon and took it to the cashier. The price was 25 cents and I gave her a dollar bill. She put the pumpkin on the table, gave the cashier the dollar, and received 75 cents in change, which we allowed her to keep. She was very proud of herself and exclaimed to her mom, " I got a pumpkin."

We ended up losing the pumpkin during the festival. Fortunately for us, she doesn't get upset about losing things, even if lost items are her stuffed animals. So when we left, she asked to buy another pumpkin. After choosing an orange gourd, she took the item to the cashier. This time it was 50 cents. I helped her count the money from her pocket and she was the proud owner of of another "pumpkin."

While I'm sure she didn' t completely understand all the transactions, our daughter was excited about making the purchase. She still remembers that she paid "two quarters" for the orange gourd and that she has one quarter left from the original dollar. Pretty good understanding and a good start on personal finances for a three-year old:-)

For more on Crossing Generations check back every Friday for a new segment.
This is not financial or parenting advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


Anonymous said...

Great story. My 3 1/2 year old boy is getting a penny/week allowance now. He started asking what the change laying around was and we worked it into an allowance that he has to earn by doing his job - getting dressed by himself, doing what he's told, etc.
He bought a cookie from me once and later decided the penny was worth more and wanted it back. I didn't give it back. Is that wrong?

Rob at Kintropy said...

It's good to start them early, I think. My son still thinks money grows on trees, but he can purchase an ice cream or a cookie and say, "Yes", "Please", and "Thank you."

Super Saver said...

@ My Trader's Journal,

Nice story. And a great lesson on return policies:-)

@ Rob,

Agree fully on starting early and getting them on a good track.