Experts suggest parents talk straight with their children about the state of the family finances in tough times.
While it may be tempting to avoid sharing too much information about the family finances with children, that approach could miss an opportunity to teach important life skills, said SUCCESS Magazine publisher Darren Hardy.
"This is the perfect time to talk about finances, because you've got examples all around you," he said.
Brian, 11, and Matthew Lelonek, 9, said they are feeling the pain of the recession.
"We don't have that much money, because my mom doesn't make that much and my dad lost his job," Brian said.
The boys' parents, Chris and Nichole Alford, find themselves explaining the cutbacks they've had to make around the house. There's no more cable TV, less soda, and fewer trips to the mall or the movies.
Hardy said parents should talk directly with their kids about what's happening in the economy and in their own homes.
"Focus on goals, focus on what the family wants to achieve, and then engage the children in the process," he said.
Even something as simple as saving for a family pizza party can be a way to teach children about the benefits and rewards of planning and saving.
The Alfords said they are already using the tough times to share important lessons with their sons.
"Don't spend more than you make, don't even spend half of what you make if you can help it," Chris Alford said.
Hardy also urges parents to encourage kids to develop entrepreneurial dreams that can help secure their own futures.
"Teach your kids to follow their passion, and is there a way to start learning by doing," he said.