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Teach Your Children Gratitude and Giving: Budgeting For Pre-teens
Updated: February 10, 2022 |
Taylor Kovar, CFP

Budgeting for Pre-Teens: The Importance of Giving

As a parent, you want to give your children everything, but in reality, giving them everything can cause issues. It can be difficult to say “NO” to your wide-eyed toddler when they ask for another Barbie playhouse or a Hess truck. There are certainly times for gifts and rewards, but it is important to avoid spoiling your child at all costs. 

During the holiday shopping spree season when a child is expecting gifts from Santa Clause, from Chanukah, or his or her birthday, kids are flooded with advertisements about the latest novelties. If you are a parent and you have experienced your child begging on their hands and knees in front of your TV screen at a commercial, you might need to learn a bit of self-discipline before calling the 1-800 number to order that toy.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be painstaking or tantrum-triggering to curb these materialistic cravings. Helping your child to decipher their “must-haves” from unnecessary needs just got a lot easier. This printable from Turbotenant helps kids to decide if they want or need certain clothes or toys. Allowing children to recognize what determines a “need” rather than a “want” will set them up for budgeting success. You’ll be cutting the costs in no time!

Donation Determiner Flowchart

Among all money lessons, giving back should be taught at an early age.

Download here

Using the donation determiner flowchart, your child will be able to keep track of toys and clothes that they desire. This chart helps to separate extra toys from the things that they deem are important. By checking in with what they have used in the past year or what they can give away, they will be cognizant of their consumerism. 

Introducing the flowchart in a fun and interesting way will entice your child. Follow these steps to implement the donation determiner flowchart into your child’s everyday life.


Step 1: Print out the flowchart and invite your child to play a game with you.


Step 2: Create a pile of clothes, toys, or household items that you can donate to charity. Share your plan to donate these clothes or items with your child to familiarize them with the idea of giving personal items away because you do not use or wear them. Express how much use other families would appreciate the items.


Step 3: Ask your children if they would be interested in going through old clothes or toys that other families would need. Voice this suggestion in a kind and calm way. Your child may get defensive but it is important to consider that they probably do not fully understand helping others.

Step 4: Go through the questions on the flow chart and answer the questions that your child may have.


Step 5: Begin gathering your child’s items that you feel will be suitable for donations. Consolidate the items in a give-away bin. Have your child run through the items on the flowchart to see what toys or pieces of clothing should be donated, kept, recycled, or trashed.

This flow chart will help you and your child to gain a sense of giving in your home. This teaches your children to be aware of the costs of their “must-haves”. From this, budgeting and saving will come naturally to them in time.

It will make your child feel responsible for giving to those who have less. By giving these items away, express how much they are positively impacting another person. This is a great way to teach your child gratitude and empathy.

“Must-Have” Costs

You may be guilty of purchasing your child that new, overpriced sweater or limited addition American Girl Doll. Before you push “order” on your next online shopping cart, it’s time to reconsider what your child really needs.

There are many simple ways to integrate the idea of costs into your child’s everyday life. Help your child to understand the cost of material goods by setting up an allowance schedule, giving daily chores for cash, or mentioning the benefits of a future summer job. Budget awareness that is taught at a young age will set your child up to better manage their funds.

Benefits of Giving

When it comes to offering up personal gifts and belongings, young children sometimes have a hard time adjusting to this action. However, there are tons of pros to teaching your child how to give at a young age. Generosity doesn’t have to be done in big acts of kindness but can be introduced one step at a time.

Helping others can help children as well. Studies show that giving to others releases serotonin and dopamine, which allow people to feel happiness. It is also scientifically proven that adults who volunteer for more than one organization are more likely to live longer than people uninvolved in helping nonprofit organizations.

Teaching children to give back to their community will instill a sense of responsibility in their lives which can be carried through the years as they grow older. They will appreciate the things they are given more if they are aware of how fortunate they are to have them.

Giving Opportunities

When highlighting all of the pros of giving to your child, you can emphasize exciting times of the year that you can give back. By framing “giving season” as times of the year that everyone bans together for the greater good, your child will feel connected to the process. Other acts of giving can help your child segway into giving away their belongings. If you are looking for giving inspiration, here are some situations that your child will be encouraged to contribute to:

Donate toys:

There are countless toy drives and donations that are given to children in need across the country. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital takes toy donations for patients who could use a little emotional support.

Send a kind card:

While donated toys and clothes can make a child in need smile, a caring card will also do the trick. This can be especially helpful if your child is having trouble giving away their belongings and they are looking to take the first step in giving.


Encouraging your child to spend time helping others through acts of service is a wonderful way to give back. Make it a family event and spend time helping others.


Donate money to good causes through fundraisers at local places near you. From animal shelters to hospitals, there are countless ways and organizations to help financially.

Use social media:

By researching organizations that could use some financial support, new toys, or hand-me-downs, your efforts will go a long way. You can repost toy drives on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Share this information with your child to get them involved in upcoming events. 


Give your child the gift of giving! It can be easy to learn gratitude and appreciation through helpers such as chore schedules and the donation flowsheet. Regardless of the holiday season that may be approaching or your child’s birthday, hold to volunteering and valuing more than just valuables. In no time, your child will be a budgeting pro and will be thankful for your guidance.


Written By: Chi Whitley


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