It is not always easy to talk with your children about money. Some parents think that a conversation about money and family finances is inappropriate to have with a child. But how else will they learn the life lessons and skills they need?

Discussing personal finances shows that you expect them to behave appropriately with money and see them as capable and responsible.

To help ensure a successful conversation, keep these tips in mind:

  • Determine how you will answer the question: “How much money do you make?”
  • Most elementary-aged children are not looking for a dollar amount. Instead, they want to know that it is enough money to meet their wants and needs.
  • Show them how your money is used to pay family expenses. Using cash or colorful pieces of paper to stack the different spending and saving categories creates an easy-to-see and conceptualize budget.
  • Don’t be afraid to share smart and bad financial decisions you have made.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a financial question, research the answer together.


Getting Your Child Used to Money

Play with money. Making money recognition fun is an easy and educational way to introduce money into your child’s life. You can match the faces or numbers on the coins, talk about the size and color of the coins, or ask your child to “find” the coin.

Play store. Have your child pretend they’re a cashier. Make items that cost money, practice counting the total, giving change, or budgeting based on a certain amount of money.

Allow them to help you in real-life situations. Have them make choices based on the cost of items count the correct amount to give to the cashier.


Activities to Do With Children through Second Grade

Give them an allowance. Introduce an allowance and the concept of saving, spending, and sharing.

Practice budgeting. Give kids jars or envelopes, or have them make their piggy bank, so they can sort what they want to save up for, spend, or put into savings. Introduce the concept of setting short-term goals.

Learn from you. Let them see you doing your own budgeting and bill paying. Answer any questions they have about money in a short and concise way.

Beware of outside influencers. Talk to your child about advertising and peer pressure.


Activities to Do With Children Grades three – six.

Needs vs. wants. Help them distinguish between needs and wants by discussing different items or looking through magazines and asking about whether things are needs or wants.

To illustrate that there is a finite amount of money to spend each week or month, draw a circle and create two sections:

  1. Needs/expenses such as housing, food, and clothing.
  2. Wants is how much remains for optional items.

Get a savings plan. Think about setting up a savings matching plan to help them achieve their goals more quickly. If appropriate, continue using savings banks or jars for saving, spending, and sharing; build on that by introducing them to a tracking system or basic budget. It can be as simple as a notebook listing “Income,” “Expenses,” and “Goals.”

Introducing credit or debit cards. This is a great age to start discussing the concept of credit and debit cards.

When introducing money to children early on, they learn life lessons that will carry them through adulthood and appreciate the value of money. Visit your local Personal Financial Management office for more information, tips, and classes available.