Learning good money management skills is something you can do on your own, but it helps if you have someone there to guide you and impart little pockets of wisdom. This is why we think it’s good to teach your kids about money from an early age. Opening up discussions about finance with your teenagers, teaching little ones about the difference between 20p and 50p and small encouragements to preteens and their savings: it all helps build a positive relationship with money.

Financial wellbeing shouldn’t be a scary subject, especially as entering the adult world can be daunting enough. In this guide, we aim to offer some pointers to get you talking about money with your kids. Regardless of age, there are little lessons which will inspire your children to think about money in a positive way rather than seeing it as a burden to be worried about.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about money just yet, why not first look at some tips to increase your financial literacy?

Young Kids, age 3-7

Teaching toddlers and young children about money can be fairly easy because they learn through playing. Most kids play by imitating the world around them, so they might already role-play going to the shops. A lot of kids even have toy cash registers and pretend barcode scanners so it’s quite easy to set up a game-like environment to practise spending money and receiving change. Slightly older children might even be able to work out the change themselves, but at this stage, just creating a fun environment where they can ‘buy’ products, even with fake money, introduces the idea that things have value.

Most kids will also learn about money at primary school, although this is usually limited to what each coin represents and that the biggest coins aren’t always worth the most. There’s no need to teach young children about more complicated areas like savings or bills just yet because they probably can’t retain that kind of information, but you can chat with them about how you pay for the food shopping and for the water in the taps.

Children and Preteens, age 8-12

As your children get older, they’ll start to grasp the concept of money a bit more seriously. They may even show an interest in doing their own clothes shopping, for example. This is a good age to start introducing the idea of earning pocket money for doing chores. It doesn’t have to be a lot, it could be 50p or maybe £1 for a particular job. Earning money from a young age, even though it’s just a small amount, helps emphasise the work-reward psychology and may even encourage them to work harder to earn more. Plus, it’ll hardly be a burden to have the dishwasher emptied and re-stacked from time to time.

This is also a good age to raise awareness about saving money. They might find they can’t buy much with 50p, but if they do a few tasks around the house and save the pocket money over a few days or maybe a month, they’ll have a bit more cash to spend on what they want. They’ll learn that saving small amounts of money can add up to a big sum quite quickly, which is a skill that’ll help at every stage of their lives.

Young Teens, age 13-15

As your children enter their teenage years, you’ll quickly see a shift in behaviours and attitudes. You might remember from when you were their age, but teenagers go through big hormonal changes and school will start to matter much more. It won’t just be exams they’re concerned about, but friends, relationships and popularity too. It can be a tricky age to try to teach your children anything because they’ll want to refute any suggestions you have, but having small discussions led by them can open up the topic.

They might start showing an interest in getting a job, like doing a paper round, and it’s good to encourage these suggestions because it shows they want to earn their own money. These are good opportunities to ask why they want a job: do they want to save for something in particular? Maybe their friends have jobs, and they want to feel included? Whatever the reason is, jobs and money will start to matter more and more as your young teens get older, so try not to squash any conversations your kids try to raise about these topics.

Whatever the subject matter, important conversations with your children can be tricky. At a young age, they might not take it seriously, and as they get older, they might not take you seriously. However, there’s nothing wrong with trying to increase their financial literacy, especially as having good financial wellbeing is something that’ll help your children throughout their lives.

We pass on many life lessons to our kids without even realising, so you’ve probably already touched on the subject of money. Plus, you’ve likely noticed your kids pick a coin off the street and show it off in pride, which means they know it’s something to value.