Woman holding a child while young girl pays for groceries

When it comes to handling money, you can count on your children to watch and learn from you. Here are some ideas to help you strengthen your children’s ability to manage money in the real world.

Be flexible with money lessons

During playtime, have your kindergartener be a shopkeeper. Gather items from your pantry to stock the shelves of an imaginary store. Use coins for buying and selling. You’ll give your child, in a fun way, a lasting idea of how business works.

Tweens can clean out your basement and closets, then manage a yard sale to sell items your family no longer wants. Handling inventory, pricing, negotiating prices and keeping up with the cash box is a great way to teach young people about all aspects of money management. If your tween makes a profit, deposit the earnings into a youth savings account.

Invite others to help teach financial fitness

Allow extended family members to share money stories with your children, too. That’s another way to exercise financial know-how from a familiar and trusted source.

Check with your child’s school to see what money lessons are being taught, then piggyback on them. Some middle schools have created their own currency where kids earn “money” throughout the semester which can be spent on treats or even to buy time to use their mobile devices during school hours.

Use gaming apps to develop strong savers

Help your child get pumped about saving using a mobile gaming app. Find games where your child earns pretend money that can be used for a quick boost to another level, or to save and use for an even bigger in-app gain later. These games mirror real-life decisions about when to spend and when to save. Keep in mind that data charges may apply during mobile app use when your child isn’t connected to a WiFi network.

Help teens build financial strength

Kids are going to fall down and make money mistakes, just like adults do. If your teen spends all available allowance on a big purchase, then there’s no money left to eat out with friends. When that happens, don’t bail out your teen! Instead, use this experience to talk about how you prioritize your wants and needs. One missed meal with friends and your teen will likely have learned a tough money lesson quickly.

Set financial goals with your teen

Goal setting establishes good practices for saving for big things later in life, like a first car. Work with your teen to set realistic savings goals for big purchases. A Parent-Child Financial Contract holds your teen accountable for sharing the cost of the new item.

Keep your child focused on savings goals by discussing the challenges and successes you’ve seen. If the goal seems out of reach, suggest weekly or monthly savings goals instead of long-range targets.

Add these money management activities to your financial routine and help your child become even more financially fit.


The advice provided is for informational purposes only.

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