BOSTON (CBS) – Teaching our kids money skills is really more important than teaching them to say “thank you” and you should start when they are sitting in the shopping cart.

The T Rowe Price’s Kids & Money survey and a study by shows that overwhelmingly parents feel it’s their responsibility to teach their kids about money and savings, and yet they are not actively doing it. Why?

Maybe because most grownups don’t know enough about money! Look at the financial mess many of them are in. They took out mortgages they could not afford. They invested in risky stuff. They were fooled by conmen!

Kids need to learn about money. They need to know where money comes from, how it gets earned, saved and spent. For the most part, there is not enough money education in the schools. I once thought that the ideal time to start teaching money skills would be when the kiddo was in first grade.

Having a grandchild has made me re-think that theory. My granddaughter at 3½ understood that I give the cashier at Walmart either my credit card or money and I walk out of the store with a cart full of stuff, some of which is hers. She doesn’t understand credit, but she does know about the magic card I carry. When you have children, the money lessons need to start before they get on that kindergarten bus!

It’s not the sit down and lecture kind of lessons that are successful here, it’s what you do every day and your attitude about money. Your kids are very aware of what’s going on in the family regarding money.

Is there a power struggle around money, arguments? Are you secretive? Do you delay gratification? Do you save? Kids are very aware of what goes in their homes.

Every day our kids are exposed to a society that values million dollar athletes and very expensive shoes. If you want them to have your money values you will need to teach by example.