Best Ways to Teach Personal Finance for Children: Discover their Challenges

What are the barriers to children picking up the money management skills they need to secure their futures? Before they pick up bad habits, we have an opportunity to instill positive behavioral trends. But there are some key issues we need to discover in order to understand the unique challenges a youthful audience faces. First, those who seek to improve personal finance for kids should look at their family financial situations. What are their demographics? What is their SES level? How well do the parents manage their money? Then you should consider the plethora of influences on kids to pick up specific money behaviors: marketing, their parents, environmental influences, and their friends. Habits picked up young can last throughout their lifetimes.

The next factor to look at when teaching personal finance for children is their emotions, beliefs, and attitudes about money. Everyone has a unique relationship with finances. We need to encourage children to adopt one that’s healthy. Lastly, it’s important to remember that parents and schools rarely teach personal finance for kids; we are failing to produce self-sufficiency among our younger generations. Money is a unique subject because everyone’s relationship with money is different. Programs that just throw out some ‘financial literacy’ materials are unlikely to succeed. They need to incorporate behavioral and psychological aspects into the training, find ways to involve parents in the instructional activities, and help kids develop workable systems for managing their money.

Personal Finance for Kids: How to Teach a Given Age Group

What you teach in a program aimed at personal finance for kids depends on their age. That’s because kids are active participants in their learning process, and they go through a continuum of development as their cognitive skills reach various stages. Where they fall on that continuum determines how you teach personal finance for children. Between ages 2 and 6, children are forming their language skills, and it’s a good strategy to have students “classify and group objects and ideas on increasingly complex levels.” From 7 through 11, the concept of number becomes important. Kids can learn the relations of more/less, production/consumption, patterns/disorder, and analysis/unification. From age 12 through adulthood, people are capable of more complex problem-solving activities; a case method approach may be useful, where kids work together to address personal finance problems for a fictional character.

Structure Personal Finance for Kids Styles

Resources and Tips to Teach Personal Finance for Kids

The NFEC’s personal finance for kid’s curriculum not only is fun and engaging; it also meets core educational standards. Designed to motivate participants to take positive action, the lesson plans use practical, hands-on learning to let students reap the benefits of forming positive monetary habits at a young age.

From birth, children are inundated with messages from advertisers to “buy, buy, buy!” According to the American Academy of Pediatrics a typical kid is exposed to more than one million advertisements by the time they reach age 21. To counteract the conditioning to spend and give children good money management knowledge, teaching kids personal finance lessons becomes essential.

The National Financial Educators Council comprehensive curriculum lays a foundation for building positive personal finance habits. The NFEC combines project-based learning, hands-on activities, songs, rebus stories, and interactive lesson plans to teach personal finance in a fun, engaging format.

Bottom line: Financial habits are formed early. We should begin teaching kids lessons about personal finances when they’re very young. If we present kids with practical lessons in formats to which they can easily relate, we’ll establish an educational foundation that supports continued financial education training as they mature.

Visit the main financial literacy curriculum page to learn more about the lesson plans and access a complimentary workshop package.

Financial Literacy Standards

PK – 2nd Grade Personal Finance Curriculum Package

personal finance for kids lesson plans

Parent Involvement Letters

At-Home Family Activities

Print on Demand Center

The NFEC personal finance for kid’s was developed for children in the ‘preoperational’ phase as defined by Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development. At this stage children experience the world from a selfish perspective where they only understand one feature of a situation or object.

Personal finance program for kids

The NFEC’s kid’s curriculum package for PK – 2nd grade students includes:

  • 68 classroom hours across 71 lessons.
  • Parent involvement letters and family activities
  • 82 engaging activities and educational games
  • Outside-of-class study material
  • Teacher-moderated testing and in-class surveys
  • Instructors resources – Teachers guide, PPT, Multimedia tools
  • Print on Demand Center with 100 Student Guide reprints

Click Here for The Latest Curriculum & Workshop Packages

3rd – 5th Grade Personal Finance Curriculum Package

Parent Involvement Letters
Long-Term Assessments
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The NFEC’s personal finance for kids package was developed for 3rd – 5th grade (7 to 11 year olds) was developed for kids in the ‘concrete operational’ phase according to Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development. Children at this age can use multiple dimensions of a problem or situation to reason about the world when the situation is made concrete. This is an important stage at which children can develop financial habits.

personal finance for elementary school

The NFEC’s curriculum package for 3rd – to 5th graders includes:

  • 58 classroom hours across 69 lessons
  • Parent involvement letters and family activities
  • Over 70 engaging activities and educational games
  • Outside-of-class study material
  • Testing, surveys, and long-term assessments
  • Instructors resources – Teachers guide, PPT, Multimedia tools
  • Print on Demand Center with 100 Student Guide reprints

Click Here for The Latest Curriculum & Workshop Packages

6th – 8th Grade Personal Finance Curriculum Package

Middle school financial literacy lesson plans

Long-term Assessments
Outside-of-Class Study Materials
Print on Demand Center

The NFEC middle school curriculum was developed for youth in the ‘abstract thought’ phase according to Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development. These are formidable development years where financial habits continue to develop. The curriculum aligns with Common Core guidelines while providing the fundamental lessons to help students make positive financial decisions.

middle school financial education curriculum package

The middle school curriculum package includes:

  • 53 classroom hours across 57 lessons
  • Over 65 engaging activities and educational games
  • Outside-of-class study material
  • Testing, surveys, and long-term assessments
  • Instructors resources – Teachers guide, PPT, Multimedia tools
  • Print on Demand Center with 100 Student Guide reprints

Click Here for The Latest Curriculum & Workshop Packages

Article: Personal Finance for Kids Curriculum – Important Features

The NFEC’s financial literacy curriculum for kids features activities that engage students in the learning process. Hands-on and project-based learning activities increase retention rates and make the process more enjoyable for kids and teachers alike. The lesson plans focus on creating the positive financial habits and relationships with money that will serve the students well as they mature.

The NFEC’s Financial Capability Curriculum was designed to bridge the gap between practical application and theory-based education. During these practical activities, students complete exercises that will improve their financial capabilities.

The material discussed on this page is age-appropriate for kids between 3 and 13 years old. The financial education curriculum package comes with three age ranges of material. PK-2nd Grade material is commonly used to teach kids ages 3 to 7. 3rd – 6th Grade material applies to kids ages 7 to 11. Middle School materials: Ages 11 to 14.

The lesson plans are designed in a modular format to accommodate a variety of schedules in alignment with national financial education standards. People have presented the material as a camp, afterschool program, in-class training, and various other delivery schedules.

The NFEC is an independent social enterprise organization and the sole purpose of this material is to improve participants’ financial capabilities. Other curricula on the market often indoctrinate children with company brand messaging, which may not serve our kids’ best interests.

The curriculum covers 5 personal finance topic areas: Financial Psychology, Accounts, Savings & Badugets, Income, Careers & Entrepreneurship, Credit Debt & Loans and Risk Management & Insurance. Although these topics may sound advanced for kids, the hands-on format makes all the lessons fun for the whole class.

The NFEC enlists the support of a highly-qualified Curriculum Advisory Board comprised of award-winning educators, financial professionals, specialists from a variety of financially-related fields, financial education experts and those with an expertise in Teaching Kids About Money. Together, the Curriculum Advisory Board reaches more than a million people globally with personal finance expertise that helps prepare people for the financial real world.

The NFECs’ Personal Finance for Kids program includes: Receive a comprehensive financial education package with more than 180 engaging lessons that lay the foundation for positive money management habits. The package includes instructors’ guides, student guides, PowerPoint presentation, and instructor resources. Pre- and post-testing material, quizzes, and surveys. Testing allows you to quantify program success and address any areas where students may lack information. Consultation. The NFEC support team assists instructors to develop a custom program that fits into the allotted time. The NFEC’s Certified Financial Education Professionals can help you choose the lesson plans that best fit your objectives, time requirements, and participant academic level. Additional Bonuses. You also will receive “Family Money Talks,” a booklet that features the 10 most important personal finance talks that parents or educators must have to teach children about money.

Thank you for your interest in teaching kids about money.

Personal Finance for Kids Article References:

Kids Building Skill in Finance

Youth Financial Literacy Starts at Home

Personal finance for kids is a parent’s responsibility as most schools don’t offer financial literacy for students. It is not a school’s job, or society’s job, to teach your child about finances. Other people and institutions can offer you support and assistance in making your child financially responsible, but it starts with you. The consequences of not educating your children about currency can lead to a lifetime full of bad financial decisions.

Our world revolves around money from the concept of credit to investment strategies. An uneducated child usually ends up one of two ways. They lead either a life of financial hardship or two; parents continue to bail them out of money troubles well into adulthood. Teaching by example is a good place to start.

Teaching kids money management lessons starts at home. Children pay more attention to a parents actions than most people realize. The good old-fashioned piggy bank that children love has no other purpose, but to save change and starts at an early age. Board games where currency is used are an excellent teaching tool to familiarize children with the world of finances.

An allowance is crucial for learning. It is not usually a lot of money, but it allows children to learn by making mistakes. Nothing makes children appreciate money more than earning their own. It does not take them long to realize that money is much easier to spend than it is to earn.

When children are required to earn a portion of their own income, most of them learn that the things they just have to have with your money are not important enough to buy with their own funds. When children get an allowance, earn wages or receives cash in the place of gifts is the best time to teach budgeting. Provide them a financial education and encourage them to spend a specific amount for things they want and save the rest for long-term goals.

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