Provide a weekly allowance. Parents can pay their child a weekly allowance for completing household chores, whether it's doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning up their room, baby-sitting, or any other age-appropriate task. You can track chores or good behavior on a chart, checking off what they accomplished that day. By week's end, you can pay them for their accomplishments. Divvy up the weekly allowance into different envelopes, such as "entertainment," "clothes," or "savings."
[See Kimberly Palmer's Alpha Consumer blog, which offers top-notch personal finance advice every day.]
Show them your monthly bills. There's no need to get too granular with your personal finances, but showing your children bills such as mortgage, electricity, utility, cable, and car insurance helps them understand what it costs to run a household. You can even show them your banking statements. This will help them learn how deposits and withdrawals are made.
Go shopping together. The supermarket is a great way to show kids how to save money. You can use the items on your list and compare prices between products, to help children look out for less-expensive brands. For the little ones, use relatable items, such as chocolate chip cookies or milk.
Use online games and websites. A fun way to get young children interested in money management is through online games. For example, T. Rowe Price and Disney teamed up to create The Great Piggy Bank Adventure Financial Education Game, a virtual board game for children ages eight to 13 that provides education on the basics of setting goals, saving and spending wisely, and using different investment strategies for growing assets. The Kids.Gov website also offers a slew of online resources to help parents teach their kids about money.
Get a job, create a budget. Once your child turns Sweet Sixteen, require him or her to get a part-time job. The money earned can go toward things that they want, such as clothing, tech gadgets, or entertainment—but only if it falls within their budget. Your child may not have enough money to spend on an iPod because of, say, weekly transportation or car-related expenses.
Start a savings account. Get your kids into the habit of saving by starting a savings account, to which they contribute a set amount each week. Set realistic goals and work with them on how they are going to achieve the goals. The account will teach them to save regularly. And reviewing monthly bank statements will help them to understand the concept of interest accrual.
Develop their entrepreneurial spirit. Landing a job and making the most of it will allow your child to stand out from the pack. "Twenty-first century kids will approach careers with the notion of 'making a job; not just taking a job,'" says Godfrey. "With unemployment for teens and 20-somethings running well into the double digits, entrepreneurial skills and outlook will be a competitive advantage."