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Resources for parents and caregivers

Children learn from watching you earn, shop, save, and borrow – you’re the top influence on their financial lives. And you don’t need to be a money expert to help them start out strong.

How kids develop money skills

Most people get their money habits and skills from their parents and caregivers. That’s why we think it’s important to show how children develop, financially.

See the building blocks of financial capability

Find out more about what you can do at home

Money as you grow

We’ve identified three building blocks of financial development, where skills and behaviors come into focus. To support each building block as it develops, try these activities and conversation starters. They can help you to help your children build money skills, habits, and attitudes that can serve them well as adults.

Developing executive function

Basic skills and attitudes form early and lay the foundation for later financial well-being. When children are ages 3 to 5, help them learn to stay focused, make plans, follow directions, complete tasks, and solve problems.

Help your child build key skills with:

  • Money Sort
  • Pretend Play
  • Money as You Grow book club
  • Conversation starters

Building money habits and values

Kids in middle childhood begin to absorb and interact with the financial world around them. When children are ages 6 to 12, help them with rules of thumb and day-to-day habits that shape how they earn, save, and shop.

Help your preteen build key skills with:

  • Bingo on the Go
  • What’s on a Receipt
  • Money as You Grow book club
  • Conversation starters

Practicing money skills and decision-making

Making their own financial decisions starts to set teens and young adults apart. When children are ages 13 to 21, you can give them chances to make money choices, experience natural consequences, and reflect on their decisions.

Help your teen build key skills with:

  • Family Members’ Jobs
  • What’s on a Pay Stub
  • College Scorecard
  • Conversation starters

Reading together with our book club

You can use the Money as You Grow book club list for children ages 4 to 10 and get started reading together. Then, talk about money skills like planning for the future, setting goals, and sticking to them.

Sources and acknowledgements

The content and activities for parents and caregivers are based on and adapted, with permission, from Money as You Grow. We are grateful to Beth Kobliner and all those who made Money as You Grow possible.

Money as You Grow was recommended as an initiative by the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability , chaired by John W. Rogers and vice-chaired by Amy Rosen. The initiative, developed by Beth Kobliner, chair of the Council's Money as You Grow working group, offered essential, age-appropriate financial lessons – with corresponding activities – that kids need to know as they grow. Written in down-to-earth language for children and their families, Money as You Grow helped equip kids with the knowledge they need to live fiscally fit lives. The lessons in Money as You Grow were based on more than a year of research, and drawn from dozens of standards, curricula, and academic studies.

The CFPB researched the way children develop the abilities and attributes  that contribute to their financial well-being in adulthood. With support from the Corporation for Enterprise Development and researchers from University of Wisconsin–Madison and University of Maryland, Baltimore County, we developed a framework that connects Money as You Grow activities to children’s financial developmental stages. With that framework in mind, we have updated and adapted the Money as You Grow activities and content.