Of all the lessons you need to teach your kids as they grow, successful money management is definitely near the top. Getting into credit and financial issues can cause a lot of stress, shame and frustration, wasting years of your time.

If you take the time to teach them about the realities of money, it doesn’t guarantee they’ll never get into trouble, but it is a step in the right direction.

1. Be Vocal

With so much background noise from televisions, computers and mobile devices, it’s easy to lose sight of teaching your kids things by simply talking to them. Giving them mini money lessons in everyday casual situations may not be considered “fun” by some people, but it will be effective over time and it also helps strengthen the bond between you and your kids.

2. Making Choices

Starting when your kids are quite young, force them to make choices when they want more than one thing at the store. Don’t just say no or that’s too much. Explain to them that they have to choose between A, B or C so they can get that part of their brain working at an early age.

3. Ditch the Cards

Paying for things with cash more often will let your kids see how money really works and how it runs out when you spend too much of it. With debit cards so prominent now, many kids will grow up never seeing any real money change hands and won’t grasp the full meaning.

4. Watch the Bill Payments

Allowing your kids to watch you pay bills is another way to teach them about money. This one works whether you pay by cash, cheque or online. Just make sure you let them see the total amount of money diminish each time you pay a bill and take the time to help them make the association between utilities, groceries, car-related expenses and cash transactions at the store.

5. Computer Games

If you want to inject some fun into the lessons, try different computer games that focus on money skills. Some credit union sites have games that help. If you can get your kids to tolerate a board game, Monopoly is still helpful when it comes to teaching money management and loss.

Finding a nice balance of reality and fantasy while mixing in your own advice and philosophies is usually a good way to get your kids ready for dealing with money in the real world.