When should kids learn financial literacy?

As a parent, it is important to consider when you should introduce the concept of financial literacy to your child. Habits become ingrained in our children by the time they turn nine years old, so it is important to begin teaching your child healthy financial literacy when they are young. Here are some things to consider as you ask the question of when kids should learn financial literacy.

What is financial literacy?

Financial literacy is knowing how to use different financial skills. These skills could include budgeting, investing, and managing your money. You could consider it the very foundation of how to use money. The best time to start teaching your child about the importance of financial literacy is as early as possible! But don’t worry. If your child is older, it is never too late to begin.

Early Childhood

Teaching your young child about financial literacy can begin as soon as they begin to understand numbers and counting. This is when they learn they have several choices regarding using money: saving, investing, spending, or giving it away. As a parent, you want to help them begin navigating these important choices.

For young children, it is a great idea to make a game out of teaching them healthy financial habits. This can begin with them simply playing store in the comfort of your home. They can use fake or real money to purchase items around your house. Help them make a “play budget” where they divide up their money for different items they would like to buy.

Another great tool in early childhood finance is the piggy bank. This is their first savings account, and you can help them learn the value of money as they collect coins and bills for the future.  Research says that by age five, children are able to learn how to save money.

Middle Childhood to Middle School

When children reach middle childhood, they begin understanding more complex financial habits. This is a great time for them to learn how a savings account works along with debit and credit cards. While they might not be using a credit card for a little while, it is still an important skill they will need to know.

Middle childhood is also the time when many children start to learn about earning money. This could be from an allowance or from doing odd jobs for neighbors and family members. Earning money gives them the perfect opportunity to begin putting some of their personal finance knowledge into practice. As a parent, you can help guide your child as they begin to figure out how to manage their money.

Unfortunately, the topic of money is often taboo, and personal finance classes are lacking in many children’s education. However, there are online classes for students to learn how to manage their money. 21stCentEd has some great resources for children starting in 6th grade and up. Their class called Financial Literacy for Youth is an exciting way for them to learn about personal finance, making purchases, and even how the stock market works. Classes like this are great building blocks for helping your child learn healthy money management skills.

High School

As students enter high school and begin thinking about college and beyond, it is crucial that we help them facilitate their financial well-being. It is important that teens have critical thinking skills so that they can make informed decisions about managing their finances. This study shows that preparing your child with a financial education may even help them get lower interest rates on loans and grants for college.

As teens enter adulthood, it is overwhelming to think about all the financial choices and decisions they will have to make. From taxes to insurance, as well as financial planning and saving, there are so many skills to learn. 21stCentEd makes this easy for your young adult with their course Personal and Family Finance. They will learn all these skills and more as they delve into the complex world of financial literacy.

Teaching your children about personal finance isn’t just one lesson or one conversation. It is through small conversations throughout your child’s life that you build a foundation for a healthy financial future. If your children are getting older and you haven’t even begun, do not worry because you can begin today. 21stCentEd makes teaching your middle and high schoolers the skills they need to have a successful financial life.

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At 21stCentEd, a strong tomorrow is what we’re all about. We’ve been deeply invested in creating interactive STEM tools for kids for many years.

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