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Teaching Children About Money

The best way for children to learn about money is to teach them. This begins when the child is preschool-age.


Preschool children can start receiving money when they are old enough to understand it’s not to put in their mouth. This varies from child to child.  The reason they need money is to learn how to:

Spend – Young children can learn to spend their own money responsibly and constructively
Save – They can have a goal and save their money to reach that goal
Give – Giving to loved ones as well as to give to those who have less 
Grade School

Grade school-age children need to learn about wants and needs. Parents provide the needs of the child and child should be able to obtain his/her wants as a special gift or by saving for what they want. Children won’t save if they don’t want for anything.

When needs and wants are mixed, share the burden of the cost, such as school clothes. Parents can decide how much they will pay and then if the child wants brands that cost more they can pay the difference.


Teenagers need increased responsibilities and decisions about financial matters as they get older to prepare them to handle their own money and be responsible with it.

Consider extending allowance period – You want to gradually extend the length of time and increase the about of money between pay periods to help your child learn to budget their money until they are given more money.
Build responsibility into allowance – You want to give your child more things to be responsible for such as lunch money, clothes, gas, etc.  
Help your child open a checking account and let older teens use a credit card on a limited basis.  Children need experience with both of these while you are there to monitor and help learn how to be responsible.  Be sure to monitor both carefully!


Trena Hickinbotham, M.S.E., CCPS, IMH-E® (III), is a child development specialist with the Tulsa Health Department. She appears on the News On 6 Six in the Morning program once a month with LeAnne Taylor. You can email her at

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