Parents and guardians are the biggest influences in a child’s life and this influence does not exclude financial literacy and wellness. Unfortunately, many parents and guardians have yet to fully figure out their finances, hence the resistance to influence a child’s financial wellbeing positively. Having the money talk with children is a significant step towards influencing and improving children’s financial wellness and behaviours in the future.

According to TD Bank Canada:

1-In-3 Canadian parents surveyed aren’t confident that they are setting a healthy financial example for their children

Image of parents with a child
image source: Pixabay

So how do we encourage parents and guardians to have this money talk with children?

Timing is important

Money talks with children can easily elude parents and guardians especially as they go through their daily activities which may not involve the children. But how do you time the money conversation with children?

  • The best time to start was yesterday – as soon as children can communicate, parents and guardians should engage them about money. This significantly helps parents and guardians to eliminate the awkwardness of these types of conversations as early as possible. As children begin to grow older and attend school, the conversations can begin to revolve around the things they can understand
  • Talk frequently – it’s not enough that we have money conversations with children occasionally, it should be frequent and conscious
  • Create opportunistic scenarios that will bring your child to ask you certain questions – holiday purchases, grocery shopping, paying bills etc

Talk about money and finances with respect to the values you’d want children to imbibe

It’s not enough to raise kids with financial literacy knowledge but it is important to embed that education around moral, spiritual and emotional values that you want to raise your children with. This helps children to view finances as a concept that is driven by other aspects of our lives and not a means to an end.

Our Values and what we value go hand in hand

Plan for the money conversation by proactively leveraging events and occasions around the home

In many cases, parents and guardians are caught unaware when children ask questions about money and they usually mean an abrupt or not-well-thought-out response is given. As is with many things, planning is significant to success. Planning could involve:

  • setting up a reward system for children based on certain milestones to imbibe the culture of earning
  • encouraging children to give out some of their toys and their play-things when they want to get more to imbibe the culture of giving
  • involving children in purchase decisions to imbibe the culture of budgeting and prioritized spending
  • democratizing the decision around children’s wants and needs to imbibe the culture of prioritized spending. For example, asking if they want one pair of pricier clothes or two less pricey ones?

Make it fun and relatable

How do we connect children’s interests to financial literacy and wellness? Asking children to do what they find interesting and offering those choices within the home might help. If your child is the caregiver by nature, encourage them with choices around gifting and donations for the family. If your child is an explorer and adventurer by nature, it helps to involve them in vacation planning. In this way, children can relate to financial literacy and wellness by taking ownership of their learning and activities in their areas of interest. If you empower children to share their passions in a meaningful and relatable financial endeavour, lessons become more creative and imaginative and eventually impactful.

Speaking of fun and relatable, check our library of financial wellness lessons for children aged 5-14 in our Knowledge Center



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