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The Giving Jar: A Simple Way to Encourage Kids to Give Generously

Photo: Nick Olejniczak via Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: Nick Olejniczak via Flickr Creative Commons

 

A Giving Jar is a very simple way to motivate younger kids to practice “giving” during Lent (or any time of year):

  1. Find a jar or a coffee cup or a decorative bowl (you get the idea) and place it on your home prayer table (or in the middle of your meal table). We’re suggesting a jar here because a clear container helps motivate kids to fill it up. Whatever it is, christen it your “Lent Giving Jar.”
  2. Encourage kids to think about ways that they can go “above and beyond” to give to others throughout the day: complimenting one another, saying “Good morning!”, asking someone how their day was, doing extra chores, sharing, and so on.
  3. Tell your kids that every evening (as often as is convenient), you will have a “check in” about ways they might have been giving throughout the day. This brief activity can be tied to meal times or evening prayer times. (It’s also a very basic form of a daily examen.)
  4. Be prepared to coach and prompt the kids. Try to “catch them” being extra nice during the day so you can supply an example of something they did that was an example of being giving. Siblings can also be encouraged to report on one another’s acts of giving.
  5. Allow your kids to place a coin in the jar for every act of giving they performed throughout the day. The coins can come from your loose change or from your household coin jar.
  6. Tell your kids that at the end of Lent, you will donate the money in the jar to Catholic Relief Services to help those without shelter, water, food, medicine, or toilets.
  7. As an added incentive, tell your kids that on Easter, the jar will be filled with candy to whatever level the coins reach. The candy, which can be eaten throughout the Easter season, symbolizes the sweetness of giving.

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