Talking to kids about the cost of living.
It’s inevitable that children and young people are affected by what's going on – not just in terms of changes to their lifestyle, but also in relation to their mental health. Here are some simple ideas to help you talk to them about their feelings and any worries about money.
Published: 23 Feb 2023
Help them understand
A recent survey showed that 86% of children aged 7-15 had heard about the cost-of-living crisis and 72% of those were worried about it. Talking to children about what ‘cost of living' means is a good first step to easing any worries, especially if they’ve noticed some changes. It can also help them to realise that it’s not caused by anything they’ve done.
Explaining practical solutions may help children think about what they can do to help save money. For example, they could try to use less electricity at home, by turning off lights or consoles. Try involving them in planning fun, inexpensive treats too, such as a movie night at home or a free museum trip.
Keep communication open
We often want to shield children from life’s problems, but this silence can be where anxieties grow. Let your child know they can talk to you anytime about their money worries. Ask them what is specifically bothering them. Sharing their fears might help make some situations feel less scary or overwhelming.
Acknowledge their feelings
Let them know it’s OK and perfectly normal to worry about money or to feel embarrassed or resentful that the family can’t afford something. It could help to chat with them about what makes your family special aside from material things.
It’s good to be honest with children, but you also need to be a reassuring figure. Letting them worry about how the family is going to pay bills could cause them unnecessary anxiety. Let them know you have a plan and you’re working on solutions. For lots of helpful info, check out our cost of living hub.
When discussing the cost of living, explain things in a way they will understand. For example, a young person may understand that terms such as inflation and cutting back mean them going out less with their friends, while younger children may need very simple explanations, such as they’ll have less pocket money.
Teach good money habits
It’s sensible to start teaching kids from a young age how to look after money. Learning about money can be fun – from board games to saving jars, here are some ideas to get you started.
For more help
You can find more advice and useful resources at YoungMinds, the UK’s leading charity for children and young people's mental health.
The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to the subject matter but does not constitute expert financial advice specific to your own situation. All facts and figures were correct at time of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.