Talking to your children about money
18 August 2023
As a parent, you want to instill good financial habits in your children from an early age. So, how do you embark on this journey of teaching kids about money without making it sound like a lecture?
Start Early, Start Simple
Begin the conversation about money when your children are young. Introduce the concept of money through fun games or activities that make learning enjoyable. Use play money to teach them the basics of counting, and gradually progress to more complex topics as they grow. You can also help your kids differentiate between wants and needs. Explain that while some things are essential for daily living, others are optional. This distinction lays the foundation for responsible spending and helps them better understand what priorities are in finances.
Set a Good Example
Children learn by observation, and you are their primary role model. When kids see you making wise choices with money, they are likely to adopt similar habits. Set yourself up with realistic financial goals and a budget and show them what informed financial decisions look like. To help connect these foundations to more tangible concepts for them, relate financial concepts to everyday occurrences. For example, when you go grocery shopping, explain the importance of comparing prices and making a list to stay within a budget.
Help your kids set up a savings jar or piggy bank where they can deposit their allowances or money received as gifts. This fosters a sense of accomplishment and helps them understand the rewards of delayed gratification. Another way to connect saving to positive emotions is to engage your children in setting financial goals, both short-term and long-term. Whether it’s saving up for a toy or planning for a family vacation, involving them in the process will instill a sense of purpose and responsibility, as well as showing that savings = good outcomes.
Introduce the Concept of Earning and Setting Their Own Budget
As your kids grow older, encourage them to earn their money through age-appropriate tasks. This could be chores around the house or other responsibilities. Earning money fosters a sense of work ethic and responsibility. When they’re old enough to begin working, work with them to create a budget that allows them to enjoy having their own money while still creating good saving habits.
There are numerous educational apps and games designed to make financial learning engaging and interactive. Explore age-appropriate options that align with your child’s developmental stage.
Looking for a place to start? Jump$tart Coalition brings together organizations that want to improve kids’ financial literacy. It’s a great place to see what’s available: https://jumpstartclearinghouse.org/
The key to successfully teaching kids about money is maintaining an open and ongoing dialogue. Encourage your children to ask questions and share their thoughts about money matters. This creates a safe space for them to learn and grow without fear of judgment. Remember, the goal is not just to teach them about money, but to instill a lifelong understanding of financial responsibility and good money management habits.
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