That moment when they realize money doesn’t grow on trees
Your tween may not know much about money at this point in their lives, and that’s OK. Being young and carefree go hand in hand, right? But giving them an opportunity to start building good money habits early – things like saving, donating, budgeting – will help them save and better prepare for their future in the long run. Here are a few practical and fun ways to talk to them about money without being on the receiving end of an eye roll or complaint. It’s kind of like hiding their vegetables in the casserole…
First things first
When it comes to money conversations, the earlier the better. You can start making age-appropriate references to money early on in their lives and make it part of your natural everyday conversation – things like “we can’t open the drink until I pay for it.”
For kids 12 and under, focus on the money basics of “managing” and “saving” money. When they’re a bit older, you can add lessons on “growing” (investing) and “protecting” money (insurance).
You may also want to teach them that they can earn money, too. This can be through things like allowance, receiving money as gifts for your birthday or special occasions, or doing chores (like babysitting or walking the dog).
Make it practical
Encourage him/her to talk about money with you – what did they learn about money in school, for example? Reinforce what they learned in practical ways, too. Allow them to be involved in some of the family’s financial decisions and activities, like planning a budget-friendly vacation or the weekly grocery shop.
Let them ask questions
Early money conversations with kids may be in the form of answers to their questions. Use their natural curiosity as a springboard for basic information about money, like “how many coins do I need to get a new bike?”
Here’s how you can make money talks fun and interesting
Show and tell, but mostly show. Use show-and-tell in your money conversations with kids, with more emphasis on “show.” Let your children see how you engage with money in your planning, shopping, and banking.
Connect money to fun stuff. Show them how their money decisions are involved in fun projects or activities that interest them, like organizing their birthday party, planning a vacation, or buying supplies to decorate their room.
Make it a game. Play fun, family games that teach basic financial concepts. There’s lots of options if you perform a quick Google search, but our picks include Monopoly Junior and the Game of Life.
You can also download our free Money Skills Workbook – it’s a printable resource to help youth build their money skills and make smart money decisions.