7 Effective Ways To Talk To Kids About Money - A Lighthearted Guide


Money is a fundamental part of life, and understanding its value is crucial. As parents, we have the privilege and responsibility of teaching our children about money, ensuring they are equipped to make informed financial decisions. However, this doesn't have to be a daunting task filled with lectures and "don't do that" moments. In this blog, we'll explore a more enjoyable and productive approach to teaching your kids about money.

Let’s start by 'Setting the Stage' for a great conversation

  1. Keep it Light: Discussing money with your kids doesn't have to be a dry lecture. Approach the topic with a light-hearted, positive attitude. The goal is to create an environment where your child feels comfortable discussing money and is open to learning.
  2. Reduce Distractions: Modern life is filled with distractions, from smartphones to TV. When you're talking about money with your child, eliminate these diversions. Have a genuine, focused conversation with eye contact and undivided attention.
  3. Be Aware of the B.S. Detector: Kids, especially teenagers, have a keen sense for authenticity. They can spot insincerity from a mile away. When discussing money, be honest and transparent. If you don't know the answer, admit it. Share your own financial experiences, even the less-than-perfect ones, as valuable lessons.
  4. Create an Open Atmosphere: Conversations about money can sometimes become uncomfortable. To combat this, aim for an open atmosphere where your child feels safe discussing their financial questions or concerns. Sometimes, the best talks happen while doing other activities, like playing a board game or taking a walk.
  5. Make it Short & Sweet: Money discussions should be a process, not a one-time event. Keep conversations brief and digestible. The goal is to plant the seeds of financial understanding gradually, nurturing them over time.

Turn the Conversation into a Fun Experience

Shift the way you talk about money with kids to make it a more enjoyable experience. Often, people make the mistake of approaching financial discussions with children too seriously, which can create negative associations and make them reluctant to engage in such conversations. Instead of turning it into a lecture, make it a fun and authentic dialogue about the exciting possibilities that come with managing money wisely. Inject creativity by seamlessly integrating these light discussions into activities you already love doing together, such as grabbing ice cream, playing catch, or shooting hoops. This way, you can transform the conversation into a positive and entertaining experience.

Encourage Positive Behavior

Often, we focus on correcting our children's mistakes rather than celebrating their successes. Creating an atmosphere of encouragement is vital. Instead of constantly pointing out financial wrongs, celebrate their wise money choices. Remember, they are still learning so even celebrating small progress toward a positive outcome is helpful…it’s about progress, not perfection.

Make sure to acknowledge their achievements and express your appreciation for their responsible money management choices. For instance, you could say, "I overheard you explaining to your friends that you'd rather save your money instead of spending it on that concert. I genuinely admire your decision - whatever your savings goal is, it's going to be even more incredible when you reach it!"

If you're seeking additional insights on offering positive feedback to your children, we recommend you read the book "Raising Modern-Day Knights" by Robert Lewis. This book outlines three fundamental principles for nurturing a strong parent-child relationship. It encourages the regular practice of saying:

  1. "I love you" to show your affection.
  2. "I'm proud of you" to express your pride in their efforts.
  3. "You're good at ________" to acknowledge their skills and talents.

Foster Critical Thinking

To nurture your child's understanding of various concepts effectively, it's important to guide them towards answers rather than providing quick solutions. Encourage them to explore, think critically, and gain firsthand experience, fostering independent learning. Utilizing open-ended questions can be a powerful tool in your conversations, enabling more profound discussions and a better grasp of your child's thoughts and emotions.

Moreover, when your child seems to seek information indirectly, engage them through warm and caring questions about their queries. This approach helps gauge their current knowledge level and gently steer them toward the right answers. Patience is key as you gradually help them progress from one point of understanding to the next. Building a comfortable and open environment for questions, including those related to money matters, is a fundamental aspect of fostering their curiosity and learning journey.

Unconditional Love with Limits – Set Boundaries

As parents, we need to be there for our children no matter what, cheering them on through good times and bad. It's essential that our love for them is unconditional, this includes setting some rules and adapting them to changes as our kids grow. These rules act like bumpers in a bowling alley, keeping our children from making big mistakes in life. But figuring out where to set these rules can be tricky.

Every child is different, so we must think about what's right for each one. Teens and young adults must learn from both their successes and their mistakes. By giving them some freedom, we let them make their own choices and learn from them. As they get older, we can relax these rules a bit, but it's important to always talk to them about what's okay and what's not. If they break a rule, we need to be firm but also help them understand what they did wrong. This builds trust and helps them learn from their mistakes.

Now, let's talk about money. Your child will watch what you do, and they'll learn more from that than from what you say. So, if you want them to be good with money, you need to show them by setting good money rules for yourself. This is all part of being a good example for your child.

Demonstrate sound financial practices and boundaries in your daily life. Whether it's budgeting, saving, or investing, your children will learn more from watching you in action than from any words you say. 

Adapt and Have Patience

Children grow and change, and so do their motivations and interests. What worked last week might not work today. This means adapting your teaching approach and being patient with your child's evolving understanding of money. Creating an environment where your children are comfortable discussing money is more important than having all the perfect answers.

Teaching kids about money is a lifelong journey. Creating a comfortable, open dialogue around financial matters and using these guiding principles will empower your children with the financial wisdom they need to navigate the world of money confidently. Remember, teaching by example and maintaining a supportive atmosphere is key. Your children will learn valuable financial lessons by watching you practice what you preach.

We are here to guide you through each step!

Ready to empower your children with lifelong financial wisdom? Start the journey to open, enjoyable money conversations today. Schedule a free assessment call to discover how a Financial Accountability Coach can guide you. 





About the Author

Dave Jacobson is a nationally recognized personal finance expert and the founder of Coach Connections, LLC, a membership that trains and mentors financial accountability coaches. Since 2009, he's been passionately educating people on the dynamics of money—its workings, the psychology behind financial decisions, and its potential as a tool to impact happiness.

Recognizing the need for improved coaching services, Dave founded Accountable Network. This platform helps clients connect with the right Financial Accountability Coach, each approaching coaching on a case-by-case basis, adapting methods to fit individual situations. Accountability is a core component, reflected in the network's name—Accountable Network.

Dave connects with teenagers through innovative means. His brainchild, the video game Money Mavericks, transforms personal finance education into an engaging experience for the younger generation. Emphasizing the significance of early financial literacy, Dave sees the game as a dynamic and enjoyable tool for teens to grasp essential mindsets, habits, and behaviors crucial for fostering happiness and achieving success.

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