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Archive for June, 2011

Teaching Children Charity

June 27th, 2011 - Category: Teaching Kids to Give

Ego-centrism could arguably be one of the worst problems facing today’s youth. And it may be affecting how willing your children are to do their chores and otherwise contribute to your family. When asked to do chores or help around the house, are these common phrases:

It’s not fair – you make me do everything.

Why do I have to do it? Why can’t someone else do it?

I didn’t make the mess, why should I have to clean it up?

If this is something you’re hearing on a regular basis, it may be time to teach your children to be more charitable. If given the chance to see how those less fortunate live, your child is likely to complain less and help more.

Too often, they get caught up in their own lives and focus only on what they have or don’t have. It’s difficult for them to comprehend that they might actually be very fortunate. Charitable acts and donations will give them a realistic perception of their own lives. And it’s not tough to come up with ways to teach charity.

1)      When cleaning out closets, bag up old clothes, books, and other items that can be taken to a donation center. Then take your child with you when you make that stop.

2)      Arrange a service project for a birthday or family get-together and get the entire family to join in.

3)      Take your kids to volunteer somewhere they may enjoy. For example, a teen who likes children could read to kids at a Battered Women’s Shelter.

4)      Encourage your junior high and high school age children to get involved in service clubs at school.

5)      Donate gently used items to someone in your neighborhood who needs extra help – and take your kids with you when you go.

Teaching your children charity will help them become better, more well-rounded adults. It will teach them life-lessons they may otherwise miss the chance to learn.

Now, some may say that charity is a religious-based virtue and not necessarily a value that everyone believes in. However, there are several benefits to giving charity that have nothing to do with religion or spiritual feelings. They include:

  • Tax breaks from the government
  • A chance to pay it forward
  • Scholarship opportunities (for volunteer work to charities)
  • Helps develop fiscal responsibility
  • Provides psychological benefits

So whether the motive is character development or you’re looking for more secular benefits, they exist and are well worth the time your children spend in developing this habit.

If you haven’t created your own account, now would be a great time. One of the choices in how to “spend” the points your children earn is to donate to charity. Sign up today and find out how this works as part of teaching kids to be responsible.

Should Children Use Their Allowance for “Special Occasions”?

June 20th, 2011 - Category: Money

Father’s Day was yesterday. And if you’re like me, you’ve received all kinds of cards, ties, tools, and other manly gifts. At first, your wife undoubtedly purchased your presents. Once children understood the meaning of the holiday, they drew pictures for you. But now, with your child a little bit older, and making an allowance, what are you getting and who is paying for it?

Seems problematic, doesn’t it? You and your children determine what chores they will complete. You decide what items they will purchase with the money they earn and which things you’re willing to pay for. But in all the time you spent discussing allowances and expenses, you probably never factored in gifts.

But just look at this list of possible gifts your child might need to cough up some cash for:

-Birthdays (for family and friends)

-Father’s Day

-Mother’s Day

-Christmas (for mom, dad, siblings, grandparents, and friends)

Ouch! It’s difficult for us as adults to spend money on wedding gifts and shower presents. So is it fair to expect a child to pay for special occasions? Sure, they’ll be expected to as adults. But do you want their efforts at completing their chores to be the means whereby they show their love to friends and family right now?

Alright, I’ll be the one to say it: it isn’t fair. Then again, neither is paying $5 to $20 for your child’s best friend’s birthday party. Especially if you have more than one child and they have more than one best friend.

So is there a comfortable solution? Not really. But here are some great ideas for making this a learning experience (even if you have to fork out some cash).

Limit gifts to $5. Offer to give your child $5 for those special occasions. If they choose to spend more, let them spend their own money. A decent gift can be purchased or made and you’ll hardly notice the five bucks from your wallet. What you may notice is that your child becomes more aware of how much things cost and look for bargains.

Offer them extra chores. You don’t want to be a scrooge, but you can’t just hand out money either. Let them learn what you already know…extra expenses require extra work on your part. Make sure they understand the difference between regular chores and allowance and the chance to make some extra money. Extra is extra.

Keep a box of options. Have you ever picked up random items at a garage sale, or held on to toys, clothes, and gifts your children have outgrown? Well, if they’re in good condition, you should keep a box of those extra items to be used as gifts for friends or younger siblings. If your children need a gift for someone, allow them to rummage through box and see if anything will work. No one needs to know you’re in the habit of re-gifting. Have your child pay you what you paid for the item. (If it’s a hand-me-down, then obviously it would be free).

Help your children think of “Free” gifts. With enough thought, your children can up with some pretty good ideas. And no, we’re not talking about an “I Owe You” booklet either. You could teach your daughter to sew and have her make a blanket out of dad’s favorite, old shirts. An older brother could spend some time in the garage turning a simple piece of wood into a sling-shot for a younger brother. Sometimes, homemade items make the best gifts.

And of course our best advice is…avoid special occasions altogether. No, we’re kidding. But this is going to be a learning experience for both you and your children. As you work together, you can come up with solutions that will work without being too unfair to any one party.

Good luck and happy…whatever the occasion is.

Can You Add Excitement to Chore Charts?

June 14th, 2011 - Category: Charts

It would be so nice if our children woke up every morning eager to do their chores. What if they looked forward to responsibility the same way they look forward to Christmas or a trip to Disneyland? Okay, that would be a little bit weird. But it would be fun if children looked at their chore list with – if not enthusiasm – a lack of whining.

But how do you do that?

We’ve never tried this ourselves, but in an effort to bring fun and creative ideas to you, we came up with these ideas. How to make the chore chart more enjoyable. Yes, enjoyable. Here are the thoughts we came up with:

Give them creative freedom. Children need to feel needed. And they need to feel appreciated. What if you were to give the responsibility of repainting a room or refinishing a coffee table to your child? Of course, they need to be old enough to accept the task. But it’s their home, too. Why not give them a chore they have complete say about? You want that table refinished anyway, right?

Give them a chore to plan a family activity. You know how much work goes into planning anything. Why not invite your child to take the initiative. Imagine how much fun they’ll have when they look at a chore chart and read, “pack for a weekend camping trip” on the top of their list.

Make the chore itself enjoyable. Let’s say you’ve assigned a child to clean the closet or fold the laundry. Then, before they’ve had a chance to complete their chore, you leave them a little surprise – like a bag of candy or a new game they’ve been wanting. They do their chores because they are asked or because they get an allowance, but there’s nothing stopping you from using it to show how much you love them.


Give them a chore that isn’t a chore. If it’s been a while since you spent quality time with your child, write “date with mom or date” in place of vacuuming or sweeping. It’s a great way to give your children a break while building your relationship with them. Of course, you’ll want to hold them to it. Get them to really go on that date with you. Otherwise, there was no point in exchanging the chore for quality time.

Team up with the neighbor. Kids always enjoy doing things with their friends. And it’s just possible that doing chores with friends would make them easier to complete. Team up with the parents of a neighbor kids and decide how the two children can work together to get a job done. Maybe this week they can paint your fence and next week they can till the ground for the neighbor’s garden. But have them do it together. The work with go faster and will be more exciting.

As a parent, and a child at one point, you know that the biggest complaint in cleaning and maintaining a house is that it always has to be done. There is never any end in sight. It’s mundane and boring. So why not use a little bit of creativity and shake things up a bit. It may improve the way your children (and even you) feel about completing their chores.

And, if you’re looking for a way to manage chores, be sure to check out if you haven’t already. And let us know if you have tried or have any ideas for making chore charts more exciting by posting in the comments below.

Should You Control What Your Kids Spend Their Allowance On?

June 7th, 2011 - Category: Money

During a recent grocery store visit, a little boy picked up a package of candy and said, “Mom, can we get this?” The mother said no and continued her shopping when the boy ran up to her, bag of candy still in hand.

“But mom,” he said this time, “I still have $3 at home. Can I buy this?” The mother relented and added the bag of candy to her grocery cart.

Now, your mind is probably racing. You may have already formed some opinions about this situation, but here are a few more details: the boy was only 6 or 7 years old and was noticeably overweight, the mother’s cart already included several snack foods, and the bag of candy was at least two pounds.

So where does a parent’s responsibility lie? Should the mother stop her child from purchasing something he wants with his own money? Or, should she let him determine how his money should be spent? Will he miss out on important financial lessons if his parents stop him from moving forward with bad choices?

In all honesty, we don’t have any answers to those questions. Partially because each child is different and will likely react differently to parental interference and partially because there are lessons to be learned either way.

So what is the answer?

Our take is that you help your child make choices about how to spend allowance money before situations like these ever come up. One of the things we love about is that it does so much more than just help kids track their chores. It allows them to save money, put money towards purchases they would like to make, and even donate money to those in need.

By spending a little extra time with our children as we create their chore chart, we can help them make good decisions ahead of time. We can monitor their choices and make positive suggestions.

Are they still going to want a bag of candy at the grocery store? Absolutely. But with their allowance being distributed online, they don’t have extra cash lying around. And the excuse of “Well I have my own money,” is replaced only with a request.

If you have not tried yet, you may want to look into it. It certainly has changed the dynamics of chores, allowance, and spending habits in many homes. And is well worth a try. featured on, Yahoo! Finance, App News Bureau and More!

June 3rd, 2011 - Category: Uncategorized is sure making a splash. We’ve recently been featured in several prominent locations throughout the country.

Most recently we were seen on: – which provides the Arizona valley with news and sports talk. In this article, was credited as a way to keep kids busy during the summer break.

Yahoo! Finance, App News Bureau, several local newspapers, and online business journals – these sources all talked about the recent endorsement we received from Suze Orman. You remember reading about that, right?

And in addition to all these sites, we have also been talked about on dozens of “mommy blogs”.

In other words, the word is spreading and we are so grateful to you for helping us spread the message.