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Kid-Friendly Ideas for Giving Back to the Community

Kid-Friendly Ideas for Giving Back to the Community

1. Find a “Giving Tree”

Throughout the holiday season, there might be “giving trees” or “wish trees” in your town building or the local mall, and they’ll be filled with tags that show children’s names and their holiday wish lists. Scout out these places or contact your local Salvation Army to learn where you can find one of these trees, and then head out with your child. Have him pick a name from the tree and shop together for the child’s wish list.

2. Go Through Toys and Clothes

Why not do your spring cleaning a bit early this year? It can be hard for children to part with toys and clothes that they’ve been using and wearing for a while…so be sure to set the activity up and discuss it beforehand. Talk with your child about less fortunate kids — some may not have toys to play with…and some probably don’t have warm clothes for the winter. Pull out some toys that your child hasn’t played with in a while and clothes that may not fit anymore. Together, choose a few items to donate to children who can use and benefit from them. Then, pack everything up, go find a clothing drop-off site, and let your child do the donating!

3. Make Cards

Does your child love to draw, decorate, or color pictures? Set aside some time to make holiday cards for children in the hospital, troops overseas, people in assisted living communities or nursing homes, and anyone else who could use an extra dose of happiness this time of the year. Then, have your child help you send them out or drop them off.

4. Donate Food

When you and your child think of the holidays, you likely think of your favorite foods that go along with them. Talk with your child about the importance of participating in a food drive for those less fortunate so that they can experience the delicious tastes of the season, too. Take a trip to the store to buy food to donate…and make it fun! If they have child-sized shopping carts, encourage your child to take the reins. Ask your child to pick a favorite holiday food to donate so that others can eat it, too, and work together to find it in the store — if it’s stuffing, grab some boxes of that; if it’s pumpkin pie, grab some cans of the filling. Once you make your purchases, have your child drop everything in the bin.

5. Deliver Goodies to Local Organizations

Whether you and your child love to bake holiday cookies or whip up endless amounts of snack mix, make extra. Decorate bags with your child, stuff them full of treats, and go around and pass them out to employees at the police and fire stations, hospital, and other local organizations that serve the community.

6. Work with Animal Shelters

Animals deserve the best, too. Contact a shelter nearby to see what they need — dog food, cat litter, bowls, etc. — and go to the pet store with your child to pick everything out. Or, call ahead to ask if you’ll be able to walk around and pass treats out to the animals. Either way, when you go to the shelter, do a lap around the kennels with your child and give the dogs and cats some love.

7. Create a Kindness Tree

Throughout the season (and even year round!), keep track of everything you and your child have done to help others by creating a kindness tree. Make a tree trunk out of cardboard or paper and cut out leaves from colored construction paper. Hang the tree trunk on the wall of the kitchen or the door to your child’s room and, on each leaf, jot down an act of kindness or activity your child does to help others. This is a great time to reflect on giving back and to talk about how it makes your child feel. Have your child hang each leaf up…and watch the tree grow.

Reference: Jeannie Krill of Bright Horizon

15 Ways to Teach Kids About Money

15 Ways to Teach Kids About Money

If you don’t teach your kids how to manage money, somebody else will. And that’s not a risk you want to take! We’ll show you how to give your kids the head start you wish you had and set them up to win with money at any age.

How to Teach Pre-Schoolers and Kindergartners About Money

1. Use a clear jar to save.

The piggy bank is a great idea, but it doesn’t give kids a visual. When you use a clear jar, they see the money growing. Yesterday, they had a dollar bill and five dimes. Today, they have a dollar bill, five dimes, and a quarter! Talk through this with them and make a big deal about it growing!

2. Set an example.

A study by the University of Cambridge found that money habits in children are formed by the time they’re 7 years old.(1) Little eyes are watching you. If you’re slapping down plastic every time you go out to dinner or the grocery store, they’ll eventually notice. Or if you and your spouse are arguing about money, they’ll notice that too. Set a healthy example for them and they’ll be much more likely to follow it when they get older.

3. Show them that stuff costs money.

You’ve got to do more than just say, “That pack of toy cars costs $5, son.” Help them grab a few dollars out of their jar, take it with them to the store, and physically hand the money to the cashier. This simple action will have more impact than a five-minute lecture.

How to Teach Elementary Students and Middle Schoolers About Money

4. Show the opportunity cost.

That’s just another way of saying, “If you buy this video game, then you won’t have the money to buy that pair of shoes.” At this age, your kids should be able to weigh decisions and understand the possible outcomes.

5. Give commissions, not allowances.

Don’t just give your kids money for breathing. Pay them commissions based on chores they do around the house like taking out the trash, cleaning their room, or mowing the grass. Dave and his daughter Rachel Cruze talk a lot about this system in their book, Smart Money Smart Kids. This concept helps your kids understand that money is earned—it’s not just given to them.

6. Avoid impulse buys.

“Mom, I just found this cute dress. It’s perfect and I love it! Can we buy it please?” Does this sound familiar? This age group really knows how to capitalize on the impulse buy—especially when it uses someone else’s money. Instead of giving in, let your child know they can use their hard-earned commission to pay for it. But encourage your child to wait at least a day before they purchase anything over $15. It will likely still be there tomorrow, and they’ll be able to make that money decision with a level head the next day.

7. Stress the importance of giving.

Once they start making a little money, be sure you teach them about giving. They can pick a church, charity or even someone they know who needs a little help. Eventually, they’ll see how giving doesn’t just affect the people they give to, but the giver as well.

How to Teach Teenagers About Money

8. Teach them contentment.

Your teen probably spends a good chunk of their time staring at a screen as they scroll through social media. And every second they’re online, they’re seeing the highlight reel of their friends, family and even total strangers! It’s the quickest way to bring on the comparison trap. You may hear things like:

“Dad, Mark’s parents bought him a brand-new car! How come I have to drive this 1993 Subaru?”

“Mom, this girl at school got to spend $10,000 on her Sweet 16 party. I want to do that too!”

Contentment starts in the heart. Let your teen know that their Subaru (although not the newest car on the block) is still running well enough to get them from point A to point B. And you can still throw a memorable, milestone birthday party without spending a chunk of your retirement savings funding it!

9. Give them the responsibility of a bank account.

By the time your kid’s a teenager, you should be able to set them up with a simple bank account if you’ve been doing some of the above along the way. This takes money management to the next level, and will (hopefully) prepare them for managing a much heftier account when they get older.

10. Get them saving for college.

There’s no time like the present to have your teen start saving for college. Do they plan on working a summer job? Perfect! Take a portion of that (or more) and toss it in a college savings account. Your teen will feel like they have skin in the game as they contribute toward their education.

11. Teach them to steer clear of student loans.

Before your teen ever applies to college, you need to sit down and have the talk—the “how are we going to pay for college” talk. Let your teen know that student loans aren’t an option to fund their education. Talk through all the alternatives out there, like going to community college, going to an in-state university, working part-time while in school, and applying for scholarships now.

While you’re at it, get The Graduate Survival Guide for them. It’s a must-have resource to help your college-bound teen prepare for the next big step in their life.

12. Teach them the danger of credit cards.

As soon as your kid turns 18, they’ll get hounded by credit card offers—especially once they’re in college. If you haven’t taught them why debt is a bad idea, they’ll become yet another credit card victim. Remember, it’s up to you to determine the right time you’ll teach them these principles.

13. Get them on a simple budget.

Since your teen is glued to their mobile device anyway, get them active on our simple budgeting app, EveryDollar. Now is the time to get your teen in the habit of budgeting their income—no matter how small It is. They should learn the importance of making a plan for their money while they’re still under your roof.

14. Introduce them to the magic of compound interest.

We know what you’re thinking. You can barely get your teen to brush their hair—how in the world are they supposed to become investment savvy? The earlier your teen can get started investing, the better. Compound interest is a magical thing! Introduce your teen to it at an early age, and they’ll get a head start on preparing for their future.

15. Help them figure out how to make money.

When you think about it, teenagers have plenty of free time—fall break, summer break, winter break, spring break. If your teen wants some money (and what teen doesn’t?), then help them find a job. Better yet, help them become an entrepreneur! These days, it’s easier than ever for your teen to start up their own business and turn a profit.

Change Your Family Tree

Teaching your children about money at any stage is going to take time on your part. It won’t always be easy. But if you want your children to know how to successfully manage their money when they get older, taking the time now will be worth it.

Reference: https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-teach-kids-about-money

Teaching Kids to Eat Healthy

Teaching Kids to Eat Healthy

Teaching kids to eat well can be tricky. You don’t want to give them more facts than they can grasp or turn every meal into a lecture. But wait too long and they could pick up unhealthy habits in the meantime.

“Kids need to know that every food they put into their bodies affects them,” says Danelle Fisher, MD, chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.

Parents can get that message across by talking with kids about the food they put in their bodies, why it matters, and how they can learn to make the healthiest choices.

Make sure healthy foods are the default setting for your family’s meals, and get everyone involved in choosing some nutritious, tasty options. Take kids with you to the grocery store or farmers market. Younger kids can pick out fresh fruits and veggies. Older kids can take on larger roles like choosing recipes and making a shopping list.

Explain that they should fill half their plate with fruits and veggies that have nutrients that will help their bodies grow. The other half should be whole grains and lean protein that gives them energy to run, dance, and play. When you’re cooking or grocery shopping, show them different examples of these key food groups.

Kids should learn that all foods have a place in their diet. Label foods as “go,” “slow,” or “whoa.” Kids can “green light” foods like whole grains and skim milk they should have every day and “slow down” with less healthy foods like waffles. Foods with the least nutrition, such as french fries, don’t need to be off-limits, but kids should stop and think twice before they eat them often.

It’s not just what kids eat that matters, but how much. Even very young kids can learn that the amount of rice or pasta they eat should match the size of their fist. Protein should be palm-sized, and fats like butter or mayonnaise about the tip of their thumb. When you buy packaged foods, have kids help you find the serving size. Then talk about why sticking to it is a good idea.

Explain to older kids that while candy and cookies taste good, sugar can do their body more harm than good. (You can tell younger kids that too many sweets will make them feel “yucky.”) Then, offer fresh fruit for desserts and limit treats to two or three times a week to keep cravings for sweets in check.

We’re born knowing to eat when we’re hungry and stop when we’re full. But that’s easy to ignore when you’re surrounded by snacks and giant portions. To help kids listen to their bodies, don’t push them to have “one more bite” or clean their plate.  Turn off screens during meals, too. They distract kids from paying attention to how much they’re eating and when they’ve had enough.

If you push your kids to eat broccoli but never touch it yourself, you might need to take a closer look at your diet. Every bite you take matters. “Role modeling is one of the best ways to get your children onboard with healthier eating,” says Stephanie Middleberg, a registered dietitian in New York City.

Kids who eat meals with their family are more likely to eat healthy fruits, veggies, and whole grains. (They’re also less apt to snack on junk food.) You don’t need to lecture about nutrition while you eat. Make meals together fun. Turn on some music, choose silly games to play, or let kids invite a friend.

If you think your child needs to lose or gain weight, don’t put them on a diet. Instead, speak to his doctor. “Your pediatrician can help you discuss basic food groups, meal time behaviours, food portions, and weight,” Fisher says.

Reference: Stephanie Booth by GrowWebMD