It’s easy to tell our kids “It’s better to give than receive.” But it can be much harder to get them to actually believe it. When the holidays roll around, most kids are too busy writing their letters to Santa to think about what they’re giving to others. Financial advisor Brad Allen talks with Milwaukee’s WTMJ-4 about ways parents can teach kids the true spirit of the season.
Younger kids probably don’t have their own source of income, so they rely on their parents to buy the gifts they give. Even so, parents can help shift kids mindset’s from getting to giving with a few activities:
Hand-made Gifts – All it takes is one quick Google search to come up with dozens of great crafts that kids can give as gifts. But it doesn’t have to be fancy. Drawing a picture or baking cookies is a gift any loved one would love to get. This will teach kids that they can take responsibility for their own gift list. It also teaches them to get creative to save money.
Hard-Earned Gifts – Take the kids to the store and let them pick out gifts for siblings or Grandma & Grandpa. You’ll still be paying the bills, but your child will be working to pay it off. You can help them work for the gifts they give by charting out how much each gift “costs.” For example, if they set the table ten times or water the Christmas tree for two weeks, they may earn enough to get that toy they picked out for their brother or sister.
Goodwill Giving – Giving isn’t restricted to people you know. This is the season to teach kids the importance of giving to charities as well. Give your child $10 or $20 and let them choose the charity or charities they want to donate to. They could use the money to buy canned goods or their favorite toy to donate. But they may also find a cause they’re passionate about and want to support. Maybe they love animals, or feel strongly about helping the environment, or they may know someone diagnosed with a certain disease. All of these can inspire holiday giving.
Keep kids involved in the process! Show them your holiday budget and take them shopping with you (or have them sit next to you at the computer as you shop online). Talk to them about the decisions you are making. For example: you would love to get Grandma both the sweater and the perfume, but you can only fit one in your budget. Kids as young as preschool can start understanding the concept that money is finite, and it can set them on a path to better appreciate the gifts they receive.
Resources for researching charities: