Families are under increasing financial pressure, and with energy price rises, and rising inflation in the news, it’s tempting to want to avoid talking about money at all – it really does feel that Money’s Too Tight to Mention! A survey commissioned by The Centre for Financial Capability indicated that 25% of children as young as 6 are more anxious about money because of the pandemic. In reality, this is the very time when parents need to have conversations with their children about money. And if we work with families, we can help; there are some fantastic free resources out there we can use to start these conversations and build families’ financial resilience.

Why we need to talk to children about money

In the days of contactless cards and direct debits, money is often almost invisible, so talking to children about money has never been more important. Research suggests that children learn money habits before the age of seven and parents and carers have a crucial role in helping them understand the value of money and build positive money habits. Schools can and do include financial education within the school curriculum, but those practical teachable moments, everyday discussions, and modelling around money happen at home.

Ways parents can teach their children about money

Young Money highlighted some practical tips for parents to teach their children about money. These include explaining the difference between needs and wants, involving them in the weekly shop, showing them the cost of running the family home, and getting them involved in finding how savings can be made. There is a wealth of resources, games and activities that parents can use to engage children and talk to them about money, which will benefit the whole family. The challenge is often finding them.

Family learning: An effective long-term approach to helping families talk about money

At Campaign for Learning, we worked with over thirty organisations to develop a flexible family learning approach that helps families talk about money and builds their confidence to manage resources; the Love Learning about Money programme covers everything from how to overcome pester power, to building a Boredom Buster Box that provides ideas for cost-free games, Money Measuring Snakes to teach young children coin recognition, and making Pirate Pizzas to use up left-over food. We have also included signposts to some of the excellent free online games, stories and videos that help children learn about money. For example, the wonderful story It’s a No-Money Day by Kate Milner and the excellent NatWest MoneySense Coin Cruncher game. As a parent and in my professional life working with families, I wish that I’d had access to some of these great resources.

Extra support for family practitioners

In March 2022 we will be running an online ‘Love Learning About Money’ workshop to share the Love Learning About Money programme and explore strategies, activities and resources that support parents and children to talk about money and become more financially resilient. Places are limited, early booking is recommended. Find out more and book your place.

Juliette Collier is a National Director at Campaign for Learning