BMO – Smart Aproach for Teaching Children About Online Financial Safety


The best way to teach your children about money habits is by example.  Children can learn monetary values, how to sort coins and comprehend the concept that money is used to purchase items.  With the Christmas holidays just a few weeks away you can teach your children about budgeting for gifts and shopping for items of value.

‘SmartSteps for Parents’ is a user-friendly, interactive, online centre designed to assist parents in educating children on money management by offering a wealth of expert advice, helpful articles, information webisodes, expert blogs, fun games and activities.

To protect your finances and at the same time prepare your children for the day they receive their first credit card, BMO offers these basic financial safety tips.

  • Never give out your credit card number (or your PIN) to anyone, including your children. Ensure that your children understand why it is so vitally important to protect personal information from identity theft and how people could take advantage should they obtain this information.
  • When you are making an online purchase on behalf of your children include them in the process by walking them through the steps ensuring that, the site is legitimate and that the financial transaction is secure.
  • When you review your monthly financial statement, show your children how to ensure there are no discrepancies or unexplained purchases.  When they see you are carefully checking each item and placing a tick mark on all the purchases that are accountable, they will follow the same system in their future years.

Alyson Schafer, a parenting expert, psychotherapist and contributor on BMO 'SmartSteps for Parents' stated, "Shopping online is becoming more accessible.  Even though children can't have their own credit cards, parents can help their children make appropriate purchases and teach them about financial safety."

BMO Financial Group's ongoing commitment to financial literacy and 'Making Money Make Sense' for Canadians releases a financial tip every week.  Lesson

To obtain more information on teaching your children about online financial safety, please visit

Parents:  LEAD your Children by Example

  • It is imperative to teach your children they should not spend more money than they have.
  • Encourage your children to save a portion of their money they receive from gifts, chores and allowances. Should an unexpected mishap occur, they will be prepared to handle it.
  • Children need to understand that comparison shopping is what parents do to save money as well as maintain the monthly bills and expenses. Why not use the upcoming Christmas season to enable your children in becoming more conscientious about what they purchase and where they make their next purchase.
  • Teaching your children to make a 'priority' list is the ideal way to budget and save their money for their next purchase.
  • Talk to your children about the financial decisions you make at the bank, grocery stores and when you pay the bills. Teach them how savings and chequing accounts work and the fundamentals of earning interest.
  • Teach your children how to make change and receive proper change.
  • Make sure your children know that a credit card is only a way to borrow money, and unless they pay the monthly bill, they will owe not only the amount due but also interest.
  • Money is earned; not given out freely. It’s important to set expectations for your children so they know that work is financially rewarded.

If we provide our children with the necessary tools and knowledge they can make smart, financial decisions which will empower them to become confident, independent consumers.  By establishing and promoting sound fundamental money management, your children will become financially responsible and secure adults.

Written by Veronika Bradley, Editor for Children's Health and Safety Association of Canada – October 2, 2013 and Republished by Diligencia Investigative Reporting – April 2019

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