5. Charitable Activities
Teaching your kids how to give to others while on a budget is something that will help them learn various skills and allow them to feel a sense of purpose and pride. Here are some unique ways kids can learn about money and give back:
There’s an organization in Atlanta, GA that not only encourages children to give back, but teaches them how to raise money. Kids Boost, which currently has a wait list of over 200 kids, is a 501(c)3 organization that gives children from third grade through high school $100 and they put together a fundraiser for a charity of their choice. In just a few years, they’ve given kids $6,000 and they have turned that into more than $110,000, supporting 48 non-profits.
“Fundraising comes with important life lessons such as money management, communication, planning, and accountability,” explains Kids Boost founder and executive director Kristen Wintzel. “This teaches kids so many things while boosting courage and self-esteem and supporting wonderful nonprofits around the world. Most kids go on to either compete another Kids Boost project or continue to get involved in philanthropy and civil engagement. Giving is powerful and giving is contagious!”
Birthday Gift DonationsInstead of adding to the never-ending supply of toys that your kids play with for five minutes, you can use your child’s birthday as an opportunity to give back. Some charities like St. Jude’s offer a birthday fundraising program where you can easily create a page to collect donations for your birthday. Also, Facebook lets you create a fundraiser for various organizations, letting you share and have people donate to anytime including your birthday.
You can also pick a charity that may need physical items and create an Amazon wish list. We did this with my daughter for her birthday—collected toys for the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, an idea I borrowed from my cousin. You can deliver the items with your child and make them part of the experience.
This may not seem like its teaching kids how to manage money, but it helps them learn about wants vs. needs and the value of money—along with how it can be used to do good things for others.
Open Communication About Money
The bottom line is that you should get your kids involved in money conversations early on, and make sure it doesn’t become a taboo topic. That will benefit them (and you) in the long run because often times people get embarrassed when dealing with money challenges.
The unfortunate reality, though, is that many people deal with financial issues. A recent survey by the American Psychiatric Association shows that two-thirds of Americans are anxious about paying their bills, up from 56% last year. So the earlier you teach your kids about money and how to talk about it, the better they’ll be set up for success as they grow and have to make their own financial decisions.
For those who may not know where to start, Amanda Grossman, Certified Financial Education Instructor and founder of Money Prodigy says, “The best way parents can get started teaching their kids about money is to find out what your child is interested in, such as goals and what they want to be, do, and have in their lives. You can then tie any money lessons you teach or money conversations you have moving forward to their list of things that are important to them, meaning they’ll be more receptive in receiving the information instead of just thinking you’re babbling on about stuff that doesn’t relate to them.”
This article first appeared on the Experian blog.