Help Build a Foundation for Your Child’s Money Skills Today

By the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

In this series, you can help your kids get on the right financial track—without being a financial expert yourself!

Most adults can trace the development of their financial lives back to childhood. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau researched more about this topic to determine what the most helpful activities are for children and youth as they learn and grow. This three-article series provides tips for parents of young children, elementary and middle school students, and teenagers and young adults. The first part in this series is for parents with children, ages three to five.

As you choose your family’s benefits, help build a foundation for your child’s money skills.  

Kids learn from you, whether you’re teaching them or not

Children absorb habits and information from their parents and primary caregivers. If you’re like most parents, you believe in helping your kids learn about money. But it can be a difficult subject to talk about, so be on the lookout for opportunities to build a good financial foundation.

Money skills don’t always mean dollars and cents

You probably wouldn’t think of including your young child in complicated decisions like benefits open enrollment. (And of course it won’t work to try explaining the details of co-payments or flexible spending accounts!) But there are parts of your decision-making process you can share, and these can help build the basic attitudes that even young children need for a solid financial future.

Here are a few key concepts that young kids can start to understand and use in their own lives:

  • Planning ahead: You’re thinking about the upcoming year and what the family will need.
  • Staying focused: You’ve got decisions to make, and a deadline to meet, so it’s important to concentrate.
  • Setting priorities: You make choices based on what’s most important to you.

You don’t have to do anything new or different. But you can share a money experience with your child. You could do the same for paying bills or checking your bank statements—routine tasks you do on a regular basis. Over time, these help your child form good money management habits and attitudes. 

For more ideas, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/parents.

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