A Child’s First Donation

posted by Talk About Giving blog team

August 15, 2012 @ 10:05 am

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Ian's Spend, Save, Give jars

When Columbia mother Catharine Aitken’s oldest son Ian turned five, she decided it was time to start giving him an allowance and with that she wanted to also incorporate lessons about giving.

“I’d had conversations about donating time and talents with him, but we’d never talked about donating our treasure,” remarked Catharine. “I realized how few people talk with their children about planning to give which inspired me to have that conversation with him.”

After doing a little research, Catharine introduced Ian’s newly acquired allowance and a visible plan for organizing his money. She glued three empty baby food jars to a piece of cardboard and wrote a word on each – ‘Spend,’ ‘Save’ and ‘Give.’ He was instructed to dedicate 50 percent of his earnings to the spend jar, 25 percent to save and 25 percent to give.

Catharine found the empty baby food jars the most appropriate method to teach Ian about how to use his earnings. “At his age, I felt it was important to have something very tangible, something that he can touch and see,” Catharine said.  “Clear jars allow him to actually watch as the coins stack up.”

In October, Ian’s family participated in Palmetto Health Foundation’s Walk for Life in honor one of Ian’s classmate’s mother who had passed away from breast cancer the previous year.

That morning, Ian had 50 cents in his give jar, but after pausing to reflect on his three jars, he moved two quarters from his spend jar to the give jar. “Now I have four quarters to give for Evan’s mommy,” he said.

You too can create an environment in which giving will become part of your children’s lives by providing opportunities to help others and modeling behavior. Like anything, as parents we have influence.

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