Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Love Jar: How We Teach Our Kids to Give

We recently participated with Bargains with Brittanie in doing a Sub for Santa for a local family who needed some help this Christmas.  It was a really awesome experience!

The mom of the family told me that on Christmas day, her kids were already finding their spare change to save so that the next year they would be prepared to help a family, too.  She even recently told me about how they have been planning fundraisers so they can use the money made from that to contribute to the 2014 family.  Love! 

This gave me an idea...

I wanted to do something like that with Paige, too!  However, Paige is still pretty young & doesn't get any money (including an allowance) at this time.  

***My daughter Paige is 3.  In my opinion, that's a gray area for allowance.  I know that every family is different & has different ways of making allowance work for them (including not doing it), and I think that's great.  I respect everyone's differences & love hearing about them & learning from them.  

So, I sat on that idea for a bit until I could figure out a way to make it work.

Eventually, I decided that the end goals were to give to others & to help Paige feel the happiness that comes when you help others.

Once I realized that, I figured, why not fight fire with fire?

So, we put together a jar.  I call it our Love Jar.

I just decorated it with some simple hearts & twine.  I'm all about simple!  

I explained to Paige that I'd love for us to start saving our money so we can help another family next Christmas (or before then if we see a need).  Paige was excited & wanted to help.  I told her that she could earn money whenever she did something nice without me asking.

Every time she shares, she gets a coin.

Every time she helps me do the dishes, she gets a coin.

Every time she cleans up without me asking, she gets a coin. 

*Now, I know this could be considered an allowance, but it's not a traditional allowance since she's not expected to do it & since it's something she has to do without me asking.

Every time she does something kind, loving or nice, I get really excited, give her a big hug & then let her pick out the coin of her choice to put in our Love Jar.  We usually end by giving some high fives.

She's loved this & it has given me more opportunities to focus on giving her more positive compliments, too.

So really, I feel like this is isn't just helping Paige, but it's helping me to be a better mom ... not something I expected, but something I'm excited about, too!

Once we see a need to use the money to help someone, I'll let Paige decide if she wants to keep half of the money for herself, or give it all away.  I'll be 100% supportive of either decision she makes, but she's already taught me a thing or two about giving (read about that here), so I wouldn't be surprised if SHE taught ME again!

I'd love to know... 
how do you encourage your kids to give? 

Linked up at Parenting Link Up, LDS Link Up, The Wednesday Roundup, Super Saturday Afternoon, Kid's Co-Op, Fellowship Fridays, The Homemaking Party & Love That Max.


  1. It's a thought provoking post - we discussed motivation and rewards with my husband at great length and also read a very interesting book called Punished by Rewards. That book really made us drastically reduce "rewards" that we give our daughter for her behavior. She does get allowance, but it's specifically not tied in any shape or form to her "performance" - it's a tool for her to learn to manage money.

  2. PS - the good part in your approach is that this money is not for your daughter, but for others, so it might "pay off" in the end in terms of teaching your daughter to give to others.

    1. Thanks for commenting & sharing what works for you! I'm really interested in reading that book & have never heard of it before, so thanks for telling me about it!

  3. What a wonderful idea! Even if a child gets a traditional allowance, parents could still make this work.
    Thank you for joining the Super Saturday Afternoon Tea Link-Up!!!

  4. This is really a neat idea, I like that they have to do something first.


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