How I Teach My Kids About Money | Christ Fellowship Church
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How I Teach My Kids About Money

3 generosity principles for parents.

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Melissa Miller

October 15, 2021

If you’ve ever tried to teach a toddler to share, you learn quickly that most kids are wired to think about themselves first. They don’t come out of the womb with a desire to freely give or delay gratification, so how do we train them about the benefits of generosity, saving, or financial stewardship? 

Although my methods morphed over the years, the principles of my ‘money talks’ with my kids remained the same. Here are a few: 

Give, Save, Spend

When my kids were little, I gave them three jars to allocate giving, saving, and spending. We taught them to put 10% in the giving jar for tithe, 10% in the saving jar, and 80% in the spending jar. Eventually, my kids outgrew the jar system, but the principles remained in their hearts. They now earn their allowance on an app that designates money to their debit cards. I chose an app that shares the same principles I’ve taught all along: give, save, spend. When we switched to the new app system, my daughter’s first question was, “How do I automatically add 10% to the ‘give’ category?” I didn’t learn about giving or saving until my 20s; what a privilege it is to help my children learn about stewardship at such young ages.

Faithful in the Little

Dining out as a family is expensive. When money was tight, I cringed when my kids asked to order from the adult menu. I had to come up with a solution to explain the value of a dollar. I grabbed a calculator and a whiteboard, and we crunched the numbers together. In one column, I wrote the weekly sum if they ordered off the kid’s menu. In the next column, I wrote the sum if all of us ordered off the adult menu. Then we calculated the difference monthly, then the difference yearly. Our jaws dropped when we realized the small weekly difference added up to hundreds of dollars per year. After that, they never asked to order off the adult menu again (and appreciated it, even more, as they became teens).

I used this to illustrate good stewardship and the importance of being faithful in the small things. Luke 16:10 says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” We want to be a family that God can trust with more.

But, Why? 

I remember the first moment I witnessed generosity. I was twelve years old, and I sat next to my aunt, who wrote a $20 offering check to her church. I remember thinking, I could buy 2 CDs with that money, why is she just giving it away? I didn’t dare to ask the biggest question on my mind, “but, why?”

The memory serves as a reminder that modeling generosity for children is essential, but it’s equally important to explain the why behind it. My kids know my why; I give because I want to be a stream, not a swamp. Generosity lines up with the kind of person I want to become. My favorite Bible verse says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:24 NIV 

As our kids grow up in a tight-fisted culture, I pray they will be able to see the reflection of a generous God within our home. 

Have you thought about your why when it comes to generosity? Have you shared it with your kids?

More In God We Trust? resources can be found here.