Why Teaching Our Kids About Money Matters

If you're like many with kids, conversations about money might not extend far beyond allowance and lemonade stands.

But like everything else, kids learn about finances and money matters from what they see at home; yep, we are setting the example. Children's foundational understanding of money management—how to count it, save it, and spend it—begins with the conversations they're having at home

In celebration of National Youth Credit Union Month which is coming up in April, we'd like to offer up some suggestions on how to make money a fun, applicable, and hands-on topic for the youngest members of your household.

Talk Candidly

Money can be a sensitive subject for families, especially during periods of financial strain. If you're tense or escalated during family conversations, this creates negative associations for your children. Debate the financial pros and cons of bringing home a new pet. Brainstorm ways they can earn extra allowance for a coveted item. Try some of these good conversation starters during dinner. Healthy attitudes toward money start at home (and with you.)

Turn Screen Time into Savings

In our TikTok/tablet/app-centric lifestyles, it would be easy to turn your nose up at the idea of money apps. But just as adults benefit from fintech (48% of Americans to be precise), so can children. Creating savings goals, tracking chores and allowance earnings, and utilizing kid-friendly debit cards for small purchases can be a useful introduction to savings and banking basics. FamZoo, Greenlight, Current, and Ketshop are a few popular finance apps specifically designed with kids and teens in mind. Some charge a small download or monthly fee, but others allow your kids to make use of the basic offerings at no cost.

Keep It Real

Money itself can feel like an elusive, intangible concept since most daily transactions happen with card swiping and touch-free technology. It's important to create real-world opportunities to involve your kids in money management. Is your child's school having a fundraiser? Encourage them to get involved. Or involve your child in cost comparisons at the grocery store, add up the costs of items as you shop, and explain staying within the parameters of your typical monthly budget. Having to make money decisions in real-time solidifies concepts you may have only touched on in conversation.

Add to Your Library

A fun and easy way to lend additional context to money talks at home (and curriculum they may be covering in school) is to introduce your kids to age-appropriate reading material. Check out this fun list of reads: I Want More Pizza: Real World Money Skills For High School, College, And Beyond by Steve Burkholder and Show Me the Money: Big Questions About Finance by Alvin Hall.

In the meantime, visit telhio.org in April to learn how you can set the kids in your life up for success by introducing them to a credit union. We welcome young members!