Teaching Your Kids Financial Literacy

A young girl is filling a jar with coins with her parents

Families who homeschool or attend online school have many opportunities to apply lessons to real life and discuss the family’s values. So when your children learn about money in online school, it’s the perfect time to start them on the path toward a financially responsible future. Here are a few ideas and suggested resources for teaching kids about money:

Turn grocery shopping into a learning experience

Equip kids with calculators, pencils, and notepads and turn your trip to the market into a lesson in comparison shopping. As you shop, ask them to calculate the difference in cost between various brands and advise which ones you should purchase. Make sure they jot down the amount saved for each item. Afterward, add up how much money they helped you save—and let them select a special treat as a reward.

Reinforce money-counting skills with play

For very young children just beginning to grasp the concept of money, playacting a trip to the grocery store or shopping mall, complete with shopping bags and pretend money, makes a great way to practice counting money or making change. And board games such as Monopoly and Life can make money counting fun for ages 8 and up. In addition, the U.S. Mint offers several free online games(opens in a new tab) to teach kids about money and reinforce these skills.

Encourage careful money management

Whether your child receives money from an allowance, birthday gift, or job, it’s a smart idea to teach him or her to keep track of it! Consider encouraging (or even requiring) your child to save a portion of his or her money too.

  • Teach younger children to set aside part of their allowance in a safe place. Help them keep track of their money by recording their savings in a notebook.
  • Take your child to the bank to set up a savings account if you haven’t already done so. Demonstrate how you deposit money in the bank for safekeeping.

Practice bill paying and record keeping

Ask your bank teller for a blank checkbook register so you can teach older children about managing household finances. Photocopy some old bills, print some “checks,” and teach kids how to pay bills and keep accurate records. Mix in some simulated deposit slips and paychecks too. You may also wish to demonstrate how to use online banking services. 

For additional free activities for elementary school, middle school, and high school students, explore the age-appropriate financial literacy resources at Hands on Banking(opens in a new tab)

Making an investment in your children’s financial literacy may take some time, but you’ll be happy you did once you see them start to ask questions and think carefully about financial decisions. The lessons they learn through play and from your example will give them a head start in learning to manage their money as college students and young adults. 
Interested in getting more involved in your children’s education? Visit the Connections Academy website(opens in a new tab) to learn more about tuition-free online school, or the Pearson Online Academy website(opens in a new tab) to discover the advantages of online private school.

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