Financial Resource Center

Money Management

Teach Kids About Money: Be Honest

by Michelle M. Haas-Dosher, CCUFC / January 12th, 2021

Children are aware of money at an early age, long before they go to school. Interactive discussions—rather than lectures—are most helpful in teaching your kids about money. Allow kids to ask questions, express opinions, and have input to decisions.

With young children it's better to wait until they initiate discussions; even older children may be more receptive if they ask the question. Sometimes, however, important matters require a sit-down discussion:

  1. Be reassuring and assess, based on the age of the child, how much they'll understand and how much detail to offer.
  2. If the change will affect the child, such as a cutback in the family budget, that's something that needs to be explained. Children can understand this and relate to it. Indeed, parents often are surprised at how supportive their children are when cutbacks are required. If you discuss how you'll reduce spending, children may volunteer to cut their own spending.
  3. Talk openly with your children about things you'd like to buy but can't afford. If you save for an item, let kids see you doing so. If you buy something you haven't budgeted for, discuss what you'll give up buying in exchange. Show that it's not just kids that have to go without—parents have limits too.

Visit our Youth Activities page for more fun ways to help teach your kids about money. 

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