Activities

Activity: Balancing a Checkbook

Activity: Balancing a Checkbook

Some may say it is an old, technologically-outdated activity — after all, most people can or do bank online. But if your child does not understand how checkbook balancing works, he is at the mercy of his bank!

Children may have a hard time understanding the concept of a bank or a checking account. Deborah Carroll offers this suggestion:

“The next time you give an allowance, set aside that amount in a container that serves as a bank. Write the amount on a piece of paper. Let your child keep the paper, and when he needs the money, he can trade in the paper for that amount, which is waiting in the bank. Your child will see that the money in the bank is no longer there after the check is presented, but that the paper sill exists. The paper is just not worth anything after the money is taken from the account.”

Christine M. Field, Life Skills for Kids (Quoting Deborah Carroll, Teaching Your Children Life Skills)

Balancing a checkbook is also part of the process of teaching our children how banking works. They should understand how to:

  • Write checks.
  • Endorse a check.
  • Keep a check register.
  • Balance an account when they receive a bank statement.

Here are five steps to balancing a checkbook:

  1. Start with the basic process.
    Checks and Checkbooks is an Enchanted Learning page that provides a nice overview. (The printables that follow are for subscribers only. But don’t worry — we’ve rounded up printables for you!)
  2. Become familiar with the forms.
    The Banking Tutor will walk you through deposit slips, checks, registers, and bank statements. (Click on “Deposit Slip” to begin the walk-through, and then just follow the arrows.)
  3. Write a Check.
    Use this Mint.org interactive to learn how to write a check.
  4. Balance your checking account.
    Another Mint.org interactive walks you through the process of balancing your checking account.
  5. Practice!
    Provide your child with his own checks, deposit slips, and register. Let him practice with his allowance dollars, pretend money, or whatever works for your family.

 

Additional Resources

Checkbook: Checks
Printable practice checks.

Checkbook: Deposit Slips
Printable practice deposit slips.

Check Register
Printable check register form at PrintablePaper.net.

Bank Reconciliation Form
Printable bank reconciliation form from McGraw-Hill.

Using an Excel Checkbook
Complete lesson plan with 10-page guide that walks students through the process of using and balancing a checkbook. Answers to the tutorial are included.