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Investing in the future: teaching kids the value of money

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Child putting money in a piggy bank

With financial education now firmly in place on the national curriculum, Kalpana Fitzpatrick, financial journalist and founder of Mummy Money Matters, shows how to open up the conversation about money with children at home.

  • Stop your kids forcing you to make unnecessary purchases.
  • Fun financial games to engage the kids.
  • Preparing your children for major life moments.

Knowing how to handle money is an essential life skill: we need money to survive and it is one of the biggest lessons we can teach to children.

Start young

Serial entrepreneur Warren Buffet, started his first business at age six selling chewing gum. Buffet is certainly a special case, but his early success suggests that perhaps starting younger is better.

Play shop using pretend coins or letting children hand over the cash when out shopping. You can also just let them collect loose change in a jar. The idea is to keep it simple but engaging, so that money is not an alien subject as they get older.

By playing make-believe with money and seeing its use in the real world, kids will find its value easier to understand as they get older.

Money games

As your child gets older, you can start introducing them to fun educational games. There are plenty of interactive ways to do this, using both mobile apps and board games.

If your child is always on their tablet, make good use of it by downloading an app that can teach them about managing money.

Kids Money is a simple app that lets children set goals for things they want. They can see how much of their pocket or gift money they would need to save to reach their target.

It’s a great way to encourage children to save: setting a goal is essential; if children don’t have a goal, then there is little incentive to save. The app is great for children as young as eight.

Pigby’s Fair is another educational app, but with more entertainment. Created by the makers of Wallace & Gromit, the app allows children to set up their own stalls at a virtual village fair. They can create their own products to sell, such as ice-cream, and set a savings target.

Get the kids on board

Playing board games is a fantastic way to engage with your children as a family and there are some that can teach your children about money.

Money Bags by Learning Resources is for children age seven and older and, with HM Treasury approved realistic coins, helps them to recognise different denominations and develop math and counting skills.

There is also Pop to the Shops by Orchard Toys, which teaches children aged up to nine about going to the shops and spending their money wisely, letting them play as shopkeepers and shoppers.

It’s also a good game to help children understand why they can’t always have everything they want and avoid making unnecessary purchases.

Pocket Money

Pocket money is a great way to teach children about money, but it’s important to be consistent. Children can’t plan or manage their money if they don’t know what they’re going to get.

Equally, let them make mistakes. If they want to go and splash the cash, then let them; it is better they make mistakes now with small amounts of money than with large amounts when they are older.

You can also boost pocket money by paying for chores. Not everyone agrees that chores should be paid for, but if you do, then it’s a great way to teach older children about earning money.

Prepare for life events

Children grow up quick and before you know it, they’ll be young adults looking to buy a house or get married.

To help them prepare, talk about budgeting and also be open about your household finances; tell them how much you earn, what bills you pay and even if you are in debt.

Children will grasp a better understanding of managing their finances when parents are open about their own.

Most parents want their children to stand on their own two feet as young adults, but poor money management skills could see them fall into debt, or even rely on the bank of mum and dad when older.

It’s important that they understand how to save for the future and protect themselves should things go wrong. Educating them in how financial protection policies work will help them to be better prepared, but you should also educate them about interest, pensions and managing bank accounts.


The Personal Finance Education Group provides some excellent resources and interactive tools that parents can use to help educate children on all aspects of money, such as insurance, mortgages, mobile phones and debt.

It works closely with the national curriculum, so you can make sure your child’s learning is enriched with your input and personal experiences.

For more personal finance ideas and resources, follow Kalpana Fitzpatrick on Twitter @KalpanaFitz or check out her website Mummy Money Matters.

Watch our video where we ask children where they think money comes from.


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