Though the vast majority (97%) of parents agree financial literacy is an essential life skill, almost half (46%) say they haven't yet broached the subject, finds new TD research.
And more than a third (36%) find it difficult to discuss finances with their kids.
"It's never too early for kids to start learning the value of a dollar," says Raymond Chun, a senior vice president at TD Canada Trust.
It's also crucial that parents push for financial literacy, since nine-in-ten (88%) are aware their financial habits will impact how their children manage their own money.
"How often do they see you shopping versus depositing money at the bank?", asks Chun. "Do you show your kids you're willing to save up for the things you want?"
He adds, "Use examples in day-to-day life to demonstrate to your kids the importance of balancing priorities and budgets. Explain why you bought milk on sale, [for example], and be open about how much groceries, toys and vacations cost."
TD also offers some tips on how to respond to kids' common questions about money:
Question #1: Why do I have to learn about money? It's so boring.
In response to this query, try getting more creative by setting up a play store with items like your kids' toys. Give them a budget and help them figure out what they can afford.
Question #2: Why do I have to do chores to get my allowance?
Children have to learn that money doesn't grow on trees from an early age. Explain they won't get an allowance as they get older, since they'll depend on work and tasks to earn their money like you.
Question #3: Why do I have to give MY piggybank to the bank?
Young children often start saving in a piggy bank so they can see their money grow. To introduce them to concept of interest—available through a bank—offer to add a nickel to their piggybank for every quarter they save. Once they're ready, help them open an account and go online regularly so they can still see how their balance is growing.
Question #4: This new video game costs $30, so how do I save that much?
Sit down and calculate how much they need to save every week to afford their new game, and help them stay interested by tracking their progress. Offer them a countdown calendar that illustrates their savings goals and use stickers to reward each achievement.