North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service

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Cash, Check, Debit or Credit Card

Your Child's $ Sense

Some children learn to identify coins and their values long before they enter grade school. They realize what cash can and cannot do for them. But school-age children often are confused about the act of writing checks and charging purchases to a debit or credit card. If you ever have told your child, “I don’t have the money to buy that,” only to hear your child say, “Just write a check,” or “Just use your credit card,” you understand completely.

Today’s children learn about money in a very complex world. Children learn most of their attitudes about money from their parents, so a family’s guidance and support are the keys to helping children understand. Preteens learn that their money supply is limited. They may need help realizing that money also is limited for everyone else, including their parents. Parents also must help children understand that they need to have money before they can write a check, use a debit card or repay a purchase made with a credit card.

You may choose to involve your children in family finances to help them understand the concepts of cash, checks and credit cards. If so, the following ideas may prove helpful to you:


PUZZLED: The following answers refer to the terms at the beginning of this document. You may choose to discuss the topics of cash, checks and credit cards with your child, using these questions to initiate a discussion.

"Check It Out" answers

Across: 1. checking account, 4. currency, 9. charges, 10. endorse, 12. bank account, 16. interest, 18. debts, 19. dollar, 21. balance, 23. withdraw, 24. coins, 25. annual fee, 26. quarter, 27. management.
Down: 1. checkbook, 2. ink, 3. cash, 4. credit card, 5. check, 6. deposits, 7. penny, 8. statements, 11. money, 13. nickel, 14. bill, 15. signature, 17. service, 19. dime, 20. credit, 21. buck, 22. bank.

"Operation: Cash Identification" answers

  1. Washington
  2. Lincoln
  3. Hamilton
  4. Jackson
  5. Lincoln
  6. Jefferson
  7. Roosevelt
  8. Washington

Go to: Kids and Money Newsletter Index
Go to: NDSU Family, Home, Youth & 4-H

NDSU Extension Service, North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science, and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Duane Hauck, director, Fargo, N.D. Distributed in furtherance of the acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. We offer our programs and facilities to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, Vietnam era veterans status or sexual orientation; and are an equal opportunity employer.
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North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service