Deep Dive

Should we talk to kids about money?

Emma Nunes-Vaz
January 16, 2024

Our relationship with money begins at a young age and, as parents, we have an opportunity to build a healthy relationship between saving and spending. But this is often an opportunity that’s missed. MoneyHelper conducted research showing that almost a third of parents and carers don’t talk to their kids openly about money.

Your behaviours and attitudes matter

Kids are extremely impressionable and often will absorb our behaviours and attitudes, money is no different. And this education doesn’t need to be anything formal or structured, simply add it into your usual routines such as when you go food shopping. This is a prime situation to turn the food shop into a lesson such as why you buy one brand and not another. This can encourage them to think before they default to picking up the brand they are most familiar with, just because it’s familiar.

Show them the whole picture

Another suggestion is to show them the whole picture. If you pay by card, rather than cash, help them understand that it is ‘real’ money - something I struggle to remember myself these days🥲. Perhaps show them your account balance before using the card and then afterwards so they can see it is less than before. Something as simple as this can over time help them understand the actual value of items and impact of buying them.

Encourage them to think before they buy

If you ask them if there’s something they would like to save for, you can help them come up with ideas to save money such as turning off lights or choosing between one thing to buy or another. These small changes can then be celebrated when they reach their goal meaning you are encouraging them with positive reinforcement, while also educating them on the value of truly thinking about what they really want. This also reinforces their ability to weigh decisions and understand the possible outcomes.

Make it fun

The final suggestion we have that has been proven successful, especially with children, is to make the notion of money and earning money a game. Many games in this modern age are based on players collecting tokens which allow them to access extra features. Turn household jobs into games, giving kids ‘tokens’ they can exchange for rewards, such as their favourite snack.