April is Financial Literacy Month, which is a great way to give us some much needed focus on a subject that often gets relegated to the end of the line in the “things-I-need-to-do-with-my-kids” pecking order. After all, school, sports and daily life are a non-stop affair. Who has time to tackle a subject like money?
Money is central to everyday life. Unfortunately the neglect of financial awareness fostered by over-taxed schools and families has produced a generation of kids that doesn’t know how to “adult” with money.
Good news, parents. You are still the ideal communicators of financial issues. You can turn the tide with these three simple ideas.
Focus on keystone habits
A keystone habit is a behavior ripple effect that can spread and change other habits. It has transformative power. For young children, a keystone habit for them to learn is budgeting money into the categories of spend, share and save. The habit will form when this happens every time they receive money. Every time. Consistently. Learning this routine early is the beginning of grown-up budgeting, living beneath their means and making financial decisions. It is the gateway to bigger and more important financial conversations that happen later on in life.
Immerse your family in financial conversations
The most central and important things you teach your children have no curriculum or workbook. Respecting others an acting with kindness are values you share all the time through quick and unplanned conversations. Your child’s financial education should be the same. Be mindful of opportunities at a restaurant or the grocery store where you can ask a question or share a thought. You don’t have to be an expert to do this. The parent-win is always in the conversation.
Be responsible to your child’s financial future
You the parent are uniquely gifted to model financial awareness. No financial guru can know and understand your child well enough to personalize their learning environment. Find resources like books or games that touch on the subject of money. Add them to what you are already doing with your child. You simply have to make it a priority and start small.
April will come and go, but you can have a lasting impact on your child’s financial future now. You can be the catalyst to help form better financial habits that will serve your kids for the rest of their life.