5 Tips to Talking to Your Kids About Money

momparenting

As my children grow older, one of the biggest challenges I have faced has been teaching them financial responsibility and the true value and meaning of money. When I explain I don't have money to purchase something, I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase: “Don’t you have a card? Can't you just get money out of the machine?!” Can you relate?

Children need to learn that money doesn’t magically appear in the bank account, to be accessed whenever they want a treat. Money is earned through work (and often very hard work with lots of hours) and must be used wisely. My kids are getting older, and the requests for money are getting more frequent and the items requested more expensive.

My parenting philosophy has always been the bigger and more important the issue, the more I need to weave the topic into everyday conversations and experiences. A single discussion on finances is not going to make my children responsible money spenders and savers.

Teaching Financial Literacy to Young Kids

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  1. Talk to your kids about money while you are using money—at the store, buying gas, or ordering pizza over the phone. Let them see money in action and discuss it then. For example, at the grocery store, get them involved in price-comparing. When I get home from a shopping trip, I often talk about the sales prices (yes, I love me a sale!). Or when we are out clothes shopping, I will challenge them to find something that they like in a certain price range.
  2. Help your kids know that you are not a money-lending machine. I give them money for school outings and other activities that are either necessary or that I support. If my kids want to go to a movie with friends, I usually discourage digging through my wallet and have them earn the money instead.
  3. Set a budget with your children, for your children. Include the money they get for allowance as well as money they might earn outside of the home and money that they regularly borrow from you.
  4. Give your kids opportunities to earn money, but also opportunities for them to spend their cash. Nothing teaches the value of money better than seeing how much a dollar (or two or five) can buy. Watching the bills leave their pockets has a much bigger impression than having mom or dad put it on a credit card for them.
  5. Let your kids see you pay bills, write out checks, and balance the accounts. Sometimes the patterns of doing are more powerful than the words you say to them.

I am always looking for more resources to improve my teaching and broaden my kids' exposure. I love "The Talk" Facebook app by iVillage. With their videos and articles on teaching kids about money, I like feeling more prepared to teach my children to be financially savvy.

Lolli is a mother of five in the Washington D.C. area. A stay-at-home mom for many years, she is now a busy photographer and author of the blog Better in Bulk, where she shares everything from family stories and parenting tips to reviews and photography tutorials.
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Lollie participated in an iVillage.com/theTalk campaign and was compensated.
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Bio: In a former life, Carissa Rogers was a molecular biologist. In her current life, she is the chief researcher of bloggy karma, parenting dos (and some don’ts), new recipes, and for spice she pretends to be a photographer. She started blogging in February of 2008 and publishes her good & crazy thoughts on GoodNCrazy.com. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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