With only a small number of schools offering formal financial literacy classes these days, what should concerned parents be doing to make sure their children learn money skills?
Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy found in a 2017 study that only 16.4 percent of American students are required to take some form for financial education course. Even in school districts that offer formal financial literacy programs, the best teachers are often informed parents.
“One of the biggest influences on children’s financial capabilities are their parents,” says Nan Morrison, president and CEO of the Council for Economic Education. “Ideally, financial literacy is taught in schools and reinforced at home, just like other subjects.”
To get informed, Morrison suggests consulting your local library, chamber of commerce, going online or your workplace for personal finance programs. Then incorporate those lessons into everyday situations where your child has an opportunity to make a choice about money.
The websites below offer resources to help parents and children learn about financial topics. All materials are free unless otherwise noted.
- The Council for Economic Education’s Financial Fitness for Life Parent Guide is a comprehensive resource that helps parents lead kids K-12 through all of the important aspects of personal finance.
- The Muppets teach young children about spending, saving and giving in Sesame Street’s “For Me, For You, For Later” videos and printable activities. A parents’ guide is included.
- At The Mint, activities, games, quizzes, pointers and tools relating to personal finance are broken down into sections for children, teens, parents and teachers. It was created by Northwestern Mutual Foundation with the Council on Economic Education.
- Consumer Jungle, a collaboration between the University of Arizona’s Take Charge America Institute and the Young Adult Consumer Education Trust provides tweens, teens and young adults with lessons, blogs, games and interactive tools dealing with credit, savings, insurance and more.
- Visa partnered with consumer advocates, educators and financial institutions to create Practical Money Skills for Life, geared toward consumers and students of all ages. It includes videos, podcasts, articles, calculators and lesson plans intended to teach the essentials of personal finance.