Money Smart KidsDevelop an understanding of what you want your children to learn about money and why it's important they do.

Consider the world of money from your child’s perspective:

  • Where does money come from? Mom and Dad.
  • What happens when you give money to someone else? You get something in return.
  • What are bills? I don’t know.
  • What’s a budget? I don’t know.
  • What is work? Something mom and dad do.

When your child comes of age and is responsible for getting a job of his own and paying his own bills, how successful will he be if you have never talked to him about money? If she has only ever learned about money from her friends and the media, how well will she budget?

Growing up Consumers

From a very early age, we are trained how to be consumers through observation, and we are constantly taking in marketing messages.

  • Observer - 0-2 years. 3 out of 4 children have their first experience with a retail store, usually a supermarket, within just a couple of weeks of being born.
  • Beggar - 2 ½ years. Children at this age are beginning to recognize brands and have preferences. They also learn how to get what they want.
  • Chooser - 3 ½ years. A child of this age is more mobile and will pull products from shelves that they recognize or want.
  • Assisted Buyer - 5 ½ years. Between ages five and six, children are learning to make purchases. This is a good time to start including them in well-planned shopping trips.
  • Solo Buyer - 8 ½ years. From this age forward, a child begins to exhibit mastery of the shopping experience and typically wants to do it by herself.

Address Your Concerns

Talking about money is often a challenging subject, mostly because there’s so much to know, and a lot of it is very confusing. What are some of your concerns about talking about money?Consider this list of common concerns:

  • My own financial situation is a mess
  • I don’t know what to teach them
  • I don’t know enough about personal finance
  • They won’t understand
  • They don’t listen to me

Just remember, no matter what, you know more than your kids. Use this as an opportunity to learn more yourself. Take advantage of free workshops, find some really good personal finance books or blogs, and learn as much as you can.

Stick to the basics, teach to your child’s developmental age, use games and activities, and take advantage of teachable moments.

Teachable Moments

A teachable moment is anytime your child is ready and open for new ideas. Look for day-to-day situations that allow children to draw conclusions about money; for example, the grocery store, at the ATM, watching commercials, reading books, paying bills, going to the credit union, etc.

The key with teachable moments is to recognize it, take advantage of it, but know when it's over.

 Financial Education