The theories that children have about money

Saturday May 25 2019

Min Atek

Min Atek 

By Min Atek

I entered the room and multiple pairs of eyes all turned and focused on me. I found a seat in the corner and sat down. Cheerfully, I greeted them and asked them to introduce themselves.

The youngest shot his hand up telling me his name and that he was four years old. “Four years?” I repeated his exact words while showing him my four fingers, “yes,” he replied smiling.

I hugged him as I loudly applauded him for being a four-year-old. Until then, I was not really sure how I was going to start the exercise of teaching money management to this particular group.

For the last 15 years and more, I have taught and worked with several groups and individuals on how to organise and manage their finances.
The difference is that I have been interacting with adults and teenagers to appreciate the money game.

But this was a different group of chaps ranging between four to 14 years. The challenge was compounded by the wide age difference. What appeals to a four year old, might not work for a teenager. I asked them about money and they began to give me theoretical answers. ‘Money is a medium of exchange.’

‘What is a medium?’ I retorted back and her face went blank. Another said, money is used for trade. ‘What is trade?’ I asked and got another blank face.
Even at this early age, they had picked up a lot of theories that they didn’t understand. I engaged them further and it was clear, money was a demon in the room.


I was not sure where they had picked that from as well. Slowly, our discussion picked up. Many would put up their hands even when they had nothing to say. The four-year-old continued coming to me, to tell me about his favourite food or simply to get another hug.

“Auntie, I want to be your friend,” he said genuinely. I finished the class by showing them how useful money can be although, it can be abused and misused. I charged each one of them to make Shs5,000 by the next day.

Some quickly gave up, saying there was no way they could make that amount in one day. Others planned to beg. I emphasised that begging a is dishonourable act that downplays the amazing gifts deposited in them by God.