How to Stop Your Money Problems from Stressing Your Kids

Rebecca Williams
3 min readApr 30, 2021

Many families struggle with money problems from time to time. The job losses that came from the year 2020 didn’t make situations any easier for parents or kids who had to be forced home, without any other means of income. We are here to offer some tips on how to communicate money issues with your little ones without worrying them too much.

They Can Tell

Your kids are perceptive and smart little ones. They can often tell when your mind is drifting to problems, or when you respond differently when asked something small. We are not telling you to hide your feelings toward money issues, so much as be aware of how much you are projecting them at others.

Create a Budget, With Their Help

One of the easiest, best ways to communicate problems with money to your kids is to involve them with a budget. Kids can understand money and budgeting from a young age, and can at least feel empowered to help make good decisions with money. You can tell them how much you have to spend on things like their clothes, food, and entertainment, and help them decide what to do with the dollars they have. Rather than feeling left out by what might seem like unusual decisions to your kids, directly involving them can help them learn about money and teach them to make thrifty decisions, plus it will certainly be a helpful skill for them to have as adults. It is never too early to start building wise financial habits.

Wants and Needs

Help your kids understand wants and needs. Make a chart of the things you often buy, or the services you often use, and the difference between those you really need, and those that are an additional item that might not be necessary. Understanding wants and needs can also help kids manage expectations, and why they are taking a local vacation this year instead of flying some place out of state. On a smaller and more frequent level, they might better understand why you are eating out at restaurants less often and making food at home more.

Be Optimistic

Kids feed off your feelings and learn how to emotionally respond to situations based on how you respond. Are you despondent or angry when talking about money? They will be too. Learn to calmly explain what’s happening in your money situation and tell them that if the whole family does a few things better, you can be back on track eventually. Help them understand that your money issues are not their fault, because they might feel at fault for money situations.

Establish Goals for them too

One of the adult goals for solving money problems often involves paying bills and paying back debt. If you want, you can show them how many payments you have left to make. They might not understand how much you owe, but they could be helped knowing smaller numbers like the number of months left you are paying. Not to mention, those of you who are especially struggling, can let your kids know that there is no shame in getting professional help with paying off these obligations, if needed. You can also help them establish their own savings goals by getting them their own small banks. A piggy bank is a classic and fun way to get your kids involved and excited about the idea of saving money, showing them that it can also feel rewarding to have money saved up for a special treat or for a rainy day.

Sources:

Talking to Your Kids about Money

Debt Help Options

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