When your kid asks you for something, try to keep the money conversation going

Three humorous interpretations from kids about money, and how this helps them learn.


money conversation

Many parents are all too familiar with the request from their kids to buy something for them. In some situations, parents might even face a shopping-mall meltdown or a grocery store “pleeeeease” incident. But kids can also surprise us or make us laugh with their curiosity and assumptions about money. Read what happened when these kids of CFPB employees and their friends asked their parents for something:

My 4 year old asked me to buy something.
“Money doesn’t grow on trees,” I reply.
“Where does it grow then?" he asked. 

My kid asked me to buy a toy.
“We don’t have any more money,” I replied.
“That’s ok, just go to the bank,” she said. 

My son wanted a new expensive toy.
“Not now, we have to save for our trip,” I said.
“But why? It’s only ONE dollar!” he said. 

If you would like to share what happens when your child asks for something, we’d like to hear it! Share on social media with the hashtag #KidsTalkMoney. 

When your child asks you to buy something, you don’t have to let it be the end of the conversation. You can use it as an opportunity to talk to your kids about money basics and work on healthy money habits like patience and making tradeoffs. Kids are constantly watching and listening to the world around them, and you are the most powerful influence in their financial lives. Here are a few questions you could ask your kids when spending money:

  • Where do you think our money comes from?
  • How much do you think (groceries, a toy, our dinner, etc.) costs?
  • What does it mean when people save up to get the things they want?
  • Why do you think people don’t just buy anything they want?

Talking about money can be complicated, and knowing what types of questions and conversations starters are age-appropriate can be difficult. So to help parents and caregivers, we’ve launched a newly redesigned web resource: Money as You Grow. You will find activities designed for each age group, from children as young as 3 years old to teenagers and young adults. One of our newest resources is a book club which features suggested books you can read with your children ages 4 to 10, along with a discussion guide to continue the money conversation. Whether your child has the case of the “gimmes” or wants to know how to start saving for something on their own, there’s a story for everyone. 

Read more stories from parents and share your own on Facebook or Twitter with #KidsTalkMoney!

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