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Creative Ways to Teach Kids About Generosity


Teaching Kids Generosity

I’m a decade into this parenting gig, and I still feel like I’m winging it. One thing I’m still working on is teaching our three kids generosity. Especially when we’re paying off debt and we can’t give like Oprah, I see we have to find creative ways to teach our kids about being generous.

During the holidays it can be easy to find opportunities to have kids give and serve. But what about the rest of the year? Here are some ideas for teaching kids generosity in the new year:

Save 10% For Giving

Whether you give it as a church tithe or to charity, I love the idea of saving 10% of your income for giving. I want them to have better financial wisdom than we have, and I hope generosity is always part of their budget and mindsets. This awesome jar gives your child a visual of where their money is going. (I went with the even more budget-friendly Ziploc containers.)

Introduce Children to World Problems

A few years ago I watched the documentary “Living on One Dollar” with my girls. I realized my kids had never really seen serious, widespread poverty before, and it led to an interesting discussion about what people have in different parts of the world. We also talked about how we could help people right in our own town.

Create Opportunities to Give

I want our kids to know generosity isn’t just giving money. It can be giving time or giving compliments or just sacrificing for another person. Whether it’s helping your neighbors or going out in the greater community, here are 10 ways to show kids how to give:

  1. Offer to help an older neighbor with yard or housework.
  2. Do a lemonade stand or bake sale and donate the profits.
  3. Make cards or Valentines for a senior center or nursing home.
  4. Make dinner together for a friend or neighbor.
  5. Encourage kids to surprise their siblings by making their beds or doing their chores, especially if they’re sick or having a hard time.
  6. Volunteer at a food bank. In our area they allow you to bring children as young as 5.
  7. Give to the homeless: Wrap burritos in foil or stuff a rolled pair of socks with chapstick and granola bars and hand them out to people you pass on the streets. (Use appropriate caution.)
  8. At a birthday party, ask for small donations to a children’s hospital instead of gifts.
  9. Make a blanket for Project Linus. Even young children can help make easy, no-sew fleece blankets to donate.
  10. Do a Coat or Clothing Drive: Contact a group that supports foster children or refugees to find out what they need. Leave a large box on your porch and advertise to your neighbors and friends with fliers or on social media (never post your address online). Set a deadline and drop off the donations together.


For 2020, our family is setting a goal to do an act of service together (even small and simple) once a month. I’m hoping it will help each of us to be more generous and less attached to our money and things.

I’d love to hear your ideas.

The Power of Contentment


“We may not have a lot, but we have plenty.”

This has been my mantra for a few months now. As predicted by some BAD readers, Princess has definitely been exposed to the “rich and fancy” lifestyle some of the kids at her private school experience on a day to day basis. Thankfully, she has a good head on her shoulders and we have had lots of money and priority talks over the last few years that it hasn’t turned her head too much. But there are definitely occasions where I can tell it gets to her.

I am learning that the key to my “financial freedom” is contentment. In creating and living a life I love and truly enjoy, I am far less suspect to be so focused on the next…

By that I mean, in the past, I was always focused and working towards the next experience, the next trip, the next big thing…all which is entailed spending money, sometimes lots of it.

And by being content and present in a life I love, I don’t feel the draw of so many of the pitfalls I dealt with, or failed to deal with before. I do not feel the need to “shop” or “compete” or “keep up.”

Life Update

I am happy with our rental house and the home we have made out of it. It’s not fancy or in a great neighborhood, but it’s solid and reliable, warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We have privacy and a yard. And have just enough room for us.

I love my job. And especially on cold winter days, getting to work in my recliner, under a blanket with my warm fuzzy socks on. My clients’ work and lives are fascinating and varied. And as much as I miss all our travel, I am getting to help them plan some amazing trips, so maybe someday, I will be in that place again. But for now, can live vicariously through them and get the satisfaction of a job well done.

The Kids

The kids are happy and thriving. History Buff has finally completed high school and is preparing to begin college while continuing to work part time. It sounds like he will be following in Sea Cadet’s footsteps and spending a year with Americorp. (Not writing that in stone as he seems to change his plans every couple of days, but he is making plans.)

Princess is doing amazing at her new school. Captain of the volleyball team, now a cheerleader and headed to her first dance this weekend. She is chomping at the bit and continuing to prove trustworthy and what a good she has on her shoulders.

Gymnast has decided to come for Christmas after all and will land Christmas night. I haven’t seen him since the end of the July, so his week and a half visit is much needed. But he seems to be thriving with his dad and is now wrestling on the high school team.

Sea Cadet is loving his experience with Americorps and has truly gotten to do some amazing things. He’s made noises about doing a second year. But again, who knows what he will decide when it comes to the end of his commitment (in May-ish.)

All This Leads To

Maybe it’s that the kids are older and more independent. Perhaps it’s the significant change in our activity levels. Maybe it’s that I’m cooking more and enjoying trying new recipes. Maybe it’s just finally getting tired of all the stress that financial mess gave me, and finally making big changes and learning to say no.

But the contentment I feel in my life now, well, it’s had the biggest affect on my money. And my ability to hold on to it longer. Save it. Make better long term choices.

In business, I’ve always been told to work a job, you don’t need a vacation from. That is what I’m doing. And the same principle applies to life. And that’s what I’m doing there too. It’s been life altering, more than any budget or game or challenge that I’ve done before.