Personally I believe that teaching your kids the value of money at an early age is an essential part of parenting. The biggest problem is that most parents are not in a position to have this talk. They either lack the knowledge or they have problems with their finances themselves.
When I was in elementary school once a week a local bank used to come in and set up a table with a few teller windows. Students were allowed to make deposits into a savings account with the bank. I thought this was a great way to teach children the basic principals of saving from an early age because it allowed them to see interest being accrued. It also taught them the importance of being responsible with money.
Personally I have always been a numbers guy. Because of that I enjoyed the other aspect of the bank in school. They would allow students to act as bank tellers (with supervision). This helped instill an even greater since of the value of money because we were responsible for recording the deposits.
Make sure they understand what can happen if you don’t pay your credit card bills on time. Make sure they understand what will happen if you buy more than you can afford. It’s not fun but it’s something that all children need to understand at the right age.
I am a firm believe in children being included in family talks about finances. Obviously there are some things may need to be left out, but for the most part include them in the discussions. This will help them see what it takes to run the family. If you are saving for their college education or for your retirement make sure they know this and that you talk about what your plan for its growth is.
There is really no right or wrong way to talk to your kids about the value of money. This process is a marathon and not a sprint. If you start talking about these issues early and frequently they will feel more and more comfortable with their own financial choices later on in life.
Do you have any special ways that you talk to your kids about money?