The one behavior to avoid when talking to your kids about money

Money is a top stressor among Americans, according to the American Psychological Association.

Still, it's crucial for parents to keep that burden off the shoulders of their children when it comes to teaching them about money, says personal finance writer Beth Kobliner.

"I think that although we may have money baggage ... the point is it doesn't matter what your psychology of money is, in the sense that you just want to help your kids understand how to stay out of debt ... or how to save money for the future, or even invest," Kobliner told Business Insider in a recent Facebook Live interview.

"I think that it is simpler than people think [to teach kids about money], but you don't want to express all that fear," she said.

According to research cited in Kobliner's new book "Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You're Not): A Parents' Guide for Kids 3 to 23," parents are the biggest influence on a child's financial behavior, and the lessons kids absorb by age seven will determine their habits for life. That's one reason why, Kobliner says, it's best not to transfer your fears or stresses about money on to your kids.

"I remember somebody once told me when my son was little to pretend to love bugs, because he was really into science and he would love to dig in the dirt. And I thought, OK that makes sense, pretend, or at least be cool with it, so they'll know that it's something you're sharing with them and they'll pick it up too," Kobliner said.

And the same goes for those moments when you're teaching them about the value and exchange of money, whether it's saving money to buy a toy or paying for groceries. Remove any fear and anxiety you may harbor and give them the chance to form their own experiences around money.

That being said, if you are experiencing serious financial problems, it's OK to be honest with your child, but make sure you're clear on how this would affect their daily life, if at all, she says.

"I think if it's affecting them, you want to think about what age they are," Kobliner said. "If they're really little, if they're 6, 7, 8, you want to be really careful because if you say to a kid, 'I have financial problems,' they may think, 'Are we going to lose our home, are we going to have to move, are we going to not be able to eat?'"

RELATED: 8 tips to teach your kids to save money

Lessons that teach your kids to save money
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Lessons that teach your kids to save money

Play money-centered board games or games on apps, like Monopoly or Money Race.
It's an interactive and fun way for your kids to learn about basic financial practices without feeling like they're being lectured.

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Give them an allotted amount of cash to spend on lunch each week.
Your child will learn how to budget accordingly throughout the week, figuring out how to balance spending money on food some days vs bringing their own on other days (something that can be directly translated into the adult workplace).

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Have them write down or tell you their absolute dream toy.
Then, show them that it's possible to have that toy if they save x enough money for x amount of weeks.

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Give them an allowance.

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Stick to a set time and date each month for giving your child their allowance.
Practicing giving your children their allowance every other week or on certain dates of each month will help them prepare for set paydays in the working world--it will teach them to budget out and how to know when to save up in anticipation.

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Match your child's savings each month.
This will imitate a 401K and show your child ways in which saving can (literally) pay off.

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Have your kid organize their funds in to different jars to represent different accounts.
Examples could be "Saving", "Spending", "Charity", "Emergency", "College".

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Take your kids grocery shopping and explain certain choices you make with your purchases to them.
Your children will benefit from knowing what's best to purchase name brand vs. generic, why some snacks are better to buy in bulk, etc.

Photo credit: Getty


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