It is never too early to start teaching our little ones about financial responsibility. From an early age, we show our kids how to brush their teeth and wash their hands. However, it is just as vital to equip them with practical life skills, such as money management – from the importance of saving up their dollars and cents to the prudence of spending wisely and paying off bills on time.
“Research has shown that our early experiences with, and conversations about, money can shape how we view and approach money management as adults,” says Kylie Macfarlane, General Manager of Corporate Responsibility at Australia’s Commonwealth Bank.
It may be a challenge to get little ones to sit still long enough to explain the finer details of pretty much anything, let alone financial well-being, so just like with food, it is best to start with manageable bite-sized pieces.
“Kids absorb a lot from the actions of their parents. Remember to engage your kids in your own money management like having them help with the grocery shopping, paying bills, or explaining the savings goals you have set for yourself,” says Kylie.
The key is to make it fun to keep them interested. “Generally, parents who teach their kids about money in a fun and engaging way can have a positive impact on their children’s financial knowledge, outcomes and well-being when they grow up,” she says. “As the mother of four-year-old twins, I started introducing concepts such as ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ from approximately three years of age.”
Here are a few ideas to get the conversation started.