Parent Resources

Financial literacy for kids

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada. We want to help promote financial literacy for kids.

A good two-part definition of financial literacy comes from

Financial literacy is the set of skills and knowledge that allow you to understand:

    • The financial principles you need to know to make informed financial decisions, and
    • The financial products that impact your financial well-being.

We all want the best for our children – emotional, spiritual, physical and financial. We spend a lot of time talking to our children about school, friendships and the like, but how engaged are we in helping our children develop financial literacy?

The BMO Financial Literacy Poll conducted by Pollara in March of 2013, found that 96 per cent of Canadians felt schools should be doing more to teach children and teenagers about money. The same poll found only 18 per cent of parents spend a lot of time discussing money and financial matters with their kids.

A Harris/Decima survey commissioned by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) in 2010 approached these questions a little differently. Their results had 89 per cent of respondents saying parents have a lot of responsibility for children’s financial education, and 78 per cent said they had tried to teach their children about money – with varying degrees of perceived success.

One more survey…

The CICA Youth Financial Literacy Study 2011, conducted by Harris/Decima, measured the financial literacy of Canadians aged 16-22. Nine out of ten respondents believe that parents should be good role models for responsible financial decisions.

Do you want to talk more with your kids about money? Do you want to be a good financial role model?

All the literature accompanying the release of these surveys indicated that many parents want to do more to help develop their child’s financial literacy, but are unsure how best to do it. Here’s a few links to help get you started. Look for more posts on this blog about some specific issues around kids and finance.

  • The Canadian Foundation for Economic Education has resources for both home and school to support the frequency and quality of discussions with kids about money.
  • The Investor Education Fund is a non-profit organization founded by the Ontario Securities Commission that provides unbiased and independent financial tools to help you make better money decisions. There’s lots of useful information here, including a section dedicated to helping you teach your kids about money.
  • The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada host a site with a number of resources geared to helping better financial decision making. Included is a blog by a magazine journalist who journals on some of the topics and issues she deals with helping her own child develop financial literacy.
  • Learning Money with Leo is a free iPad app provided by the Royal Bank of Canada to help three- to six-year olds engage in games and activities related to money.

And if developing multiplication skills is one way your child can move further down the path to financial literacy – we can help.


The Parent Toolkit

It's a wonderful thing when common sense and research agree. That's clearly the case with respect to the positive effect parental involvement has on a child's scholastic success. Research has demonstrated this repeatedly, and we all know it intuitively. The link lists a number of the benefits research has demonstrated: better grades, more homework completion, higher self-esteem, greater achievement. We all want these things for our kids. We want to help them develop an appreciation for reading and the arts, to explore the natural world around them, to learn their times tables.

How parents should get involved is not always so clear. What's a reasonable level of involvement? What's expected of my child? How can I best support those expectations?

Earlier this month, Education Nation (of NBC News) released an excellent resource for parents to help answer just those kinds of questions. The Parent Toolkit is intended to "help you navigate your child’s journey from pre-kindergarten through high school. It is designed to help you track and support progress at each stage."

The Toolkit provides benchmarking and parent tips to help support learning for each grade from K to 12. It's based on curriculum being launched in many states in the US, but is still certainly useful for parents with school age kids no matter where they live.

The tips for parents are both general and specific, easy to understand, and easy to implement. It helps make the responsibility we share in getting involved in our children's education simpler.

It doesn't always mean presiding over homework time, checking school bags for "forgotten' test papers or important correspondence. (Sometimes those things are important too!)

It does mean connecting relevant learning to everyday activity. The Parent Toolkit helps with that. Check it out, and let us know what you think.