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Year 0:

Establish a 529 plan prior to birth or adoption and encourage friends and family to celebrate your new arrival by investing in your child’s college savings fund.

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Year 1:

Encourage your baby to communicate emotions and needs through baby sign language. For many children, it reduces frustration and strengthens bonding with adults. You can find the basics online.

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Year 2:

Play recordings and make music with your toddler. Music develops beginning math skills such as counting, sequences, order, and tempo. The inevitable dancing, hopping, and twirling builds motor skills, as does home-based rhythm instruments such as pots and pans.

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Year 3:

Planting and tending carrots, sunflowers or tomatoes with your child is a great way to teach environmental awareness and explore the workings of nature.

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Year 4:

Encourage a sense of self by chalk outlining your child on pavement or butcher paper having them add the special features as they see themselves. Surprise Grandma and Grandpa with a newspaper stuffed, life-sized surrogate grandchild to keep them company.

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Year 5:

Begin a permanent library with your child’s favorite book and add a new book for each celebration throughout the year. Be sure to revisit the early books often, reading them aloud with your child builds vocabulary and confidence.

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Year 6:

Teach financial responsibility to your child by establishing an allowance. Make sure there is enough to share with the piggy bank. 50 cents to one dollar per year of age is a general rule of thumb.

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Year 7:

Teach your child to set financial goals by matching their saved amount toward something they want. Make deposit day at the bank a special outing. Encourage relatives to gift to your child’s college savings account for birthday gifts instead of…

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Year 8:

Develop leadership and organizational skills by having your child plan a Saturday afternoon family outing including the budget for the excursion.

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Year 9:

Introduce the concept of investment with your child. Show them how their college savings account or other investment grows over time. Explain that their future is your greatest investment.

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