Transform Your Child's Gimme Attitude into a Giving Attitude over the Holidays

Do your kids end up on just one end of the gift exchange during the holidays — the receiving end?

Here are some ideas for involving your child in the giving end and practicing some good personal finance habits long the way:

Video Transcript

Tis’ better to give than to receive, right? During the holidays, kids often end up on just one end of the gift exchange: the receiving end!

What’s the natural side effect of this lopsided situation? Perhaps a me-centric point of view? A growing sense of entitlement?

How can parents transform a “Gimme!” Attitude into a Giving Attitude?

Maybe it’s time to involve your kids more formally in the giving side of the gift equation. And while they’re learning the natural joy of giving, you can pass along a few budgeting fundamentals and a healthy appreciation for the value of a dollar.

Let’s see how a system like FamZoo can help you get organized.

Let’s say I’m the Dad in the mythical Tiger family. I’ll be working with Cub, the middle child.

Let’s start by working out a gift giving budget for Cub.

I sign into FamZoo as Dad, scroll down to the Budgets section on the Overview page, and click on the Create Budget link.

I’ll pick Cub as the owner of the budget.

I’ll name the budget “Holiday Gifts”.

To help us coordinate, I’ll set it up to send us text alerts whenever someone adds a comment to the budget.

When I click Create Budget, FamZoo sends me to the budget worksheet page.

Here I can start adding some items to the budget by typing them in at the top.

Many families have gift giving “rules” during the holidays that vary by family size or situation. In this example, let’s say the Tiger family guidelines are that each kid gives one “big” gift to another family member (perhaps drawing the name out of a hat), gives a medium gift to Gramma and Grandpa, and gives fun little token gifts for everybody in the immediate family.

The budget worksheet is a handy place to record and communicate these guidelines.

As a learning experience, let’s turn the budget over to Cub and let him propose some amounts for our budget items. I’ll leave a comment to that effect.

Cub signs in, scrolls down to his Budgets section, sees the Holiday Gifts budget, and clicks on it to go to the worksheet. He can move his mouse over an item and click on the pencil icon to edit it.

He’s seen the iPad on his sister’s shared wish list. That sounds cool, so he pops in $500 for her gift. He updates the other items as well.

OK, that should do it. He lets Dad know he’s ready to go by adding a comment to the budget.

Uh, yeah...Looks like this is a good time for a little fiscal reality chat with Cub. Maybe let Cub know that some or all of the gift-giving funds will be coming out of his own FamZoo Pocket Money account.

Maybe hop over to the Savings Planner to see just how many weeks of allowance it would take to cover the grand suggestions from our little “Mr. Magnanimous”.

Ok, that was a quick lesson. Let’s go back to the budget worksheet and start revising things to be a bit more reasonable. No more iPad for Big Sis — let’s keep it around 20 bucks. Let’s cut the little gifts figure to a couple of dollars each. And, let’s bring the “awesome-ness” down a notch for Grandma and Grandpa.

Now we’re talking. Time to hit the stores.

Before we do that though, one last thing.

Let’s set up a separate Holiday Gifts account where Cub can track his purchases.

As Dad, Click on the Create Account link in the Accounts section.

Select Cub as the owner.

Fill in a Name.

Set the Starting Balance to the amount — if any — that Mom & Dad are chipping in.

Let’s check the box that allows cub to enter the purchases on his own, but let’s stay informed with a text message on each entry.

Back on the Overview page, I can see the new account with the starting balance from Mom & Dad. I’ll use the + and - icons to transfer in the rest of the budgeted amount from Cub’s own Pocket Money account.

Now Cub can head off to do his own holiday shopping. He can use FamZoo to record the amounts, and monitor how much he has left in his budget. This can either be done from a mobile device right at the store, or later from a computer at home.

This year, you can bet he’ll enjoy delivering his personally selected gifts. You can also bet he’ll have a better appreciation for the gifts he receives.

So, that’s how FamZoo can help you transition your child from “Gimme!” to Giving, and build some good financial habits along the way.

From the FamZoo Crew to your family: Happy holidays!

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