The holiday season is a wonderful time for kids to learn about the impact they can have on others (and themselves) by giving, whether it be in the form of donating money to a worthy cause, donating gently-used toys or outgrown clothing to those in need, or giving their time to help out at a local food pantry or animal shelter.
Teaching kids to save and give during the holiday season can be fun! Here are five ideas that give kids the opportunity to decide for themselves what is important to them, so that they are more inclined to pay it forward all year long.
1. Put three mason jars in their room, labeled ‘spend’, ‘save’, and ‘give’. Each time someone gives them money or they earn an allowance, they can split the cash up three ways into the jars and watch it grow. The ‘spend’ jar can be used to purchase the latest and greatest toy that they need to have. Bring your ‘save’ jar into your local bank to count your change and open up a Kids’ Savings Account. The best part of having a FSB Kids’ Savings Account is every time you save $25, you get a prize – how cool is that? Once your child has accumulated a fair amount of money in their ‘give’ jar (let’s say $20), have them decide which organization they would like to donate their money to. Each $20 can be donated to a different organization of their choice.
2. Make a list of nonprofit organizations in your community that seek the help of young volunteers, such as animal shelters that invite kids to read to the animals, food pantries that allow kids to help sort boxes, and soup kitchens that invite children to help prepare meals. Volunteer work for kids is a great way to start installing the values of helping those less fortunate.
3. Go through the toys and clothes they no longer use or wear, and ask them which ones they would like to give to those in need.
4. Have a happy and helpful birthday party! Instead of having guests bring presents, ask them to bring an item to donate to your child’s charity of choice.
5. Next time you take a stroll through the park or along the river, pick up trash. This type of volunteer work for kids also helps teach them about the environmental effects of littering. While cleaning up, be sure to wear gloves and supervise your child closely.
The holiday season is a great time to start teaching kids to save. As kids are no doubt inundated with ads for toys and electronics, overwhelming, blinking displays of merchandise in stores, and digital ads following them around the web, it is easy for kids to get caught up in the concept of ‘I want everything and I want it now’, and completely lose sight of the idea that putting a little away now can help you gain something much better in the future.