8 Ways to Raise a Cheerful Giver

8 ways to raise a cheerful giver

My children approach money in very different ways.  To one, money is a means of getting more toys.  This child is driven to earn more and get more, all for the purpose of accumulating a new and tangible item.

To my other child, money is an opportunity.  This child is a natural giver.  After walking into my office and handing me two dollar bills, this child told me to send it to the kids in Africa.  On another occasion, this one has looked in a wallet and said it has too much money.  A comment only to be followed by giving me a dollar with instructions to spend it on something for myself.  Yes, for real.

Every kid is different.  And while one of my kids is more focused on toys than Africa, there are still ways to guide that young heart and raise a cheerful giver.  But it starts with persistence, teaching and opportunity, and the belief that even an unnatural giver can grow to be generous and others-focused.


8 Ways to Raise a Cheerful Giver


1.  Start Young.  

The younger you start teaching your children about giving, the easier it will be for them as they age.  Think about tithing.  How much harder is it to start tithing as an adult than if one had been raised with the concept and been doing it all along?

2.  Start Small.

Don’t ask your children to give everything right off the bat.  Set little goals.  Give a portion of an earning.  Work towards small and attainable gifts and donations.   

3.  Give your children something to relate to with a story, movie or photos.

We recently bought 3 bed nets for a family in Africa to help with protection from malaria.  Had I asked the kids out of the blue to start saving money toward bed nets, they may have been somewhat disinterested in this particular item.  After all, my kids sleep in the air-conditioning, free from any concern of malaria.

But we had just watched the movie, Born Free.  It is the true story of a couple that after rescuing and raising a lioness cub set her free into the wild with success. (Moms, you will probably cry, but your kids will like it.  Did I mention that the cub’s name is Elsa?)

In the movie, George becomes ill with malaria.  My kids saw the scenes of him tossing in bed in pain and his wife’s concern for his life.  That was the point of reference.  When I asked the kids if they wanted to save up and buy the bed nets to protect a family from malaria, they immediately remembered George.  They understood malaria and were eager to help.

4.  Learn Bible verses together on giving.

“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which he has given you.”  Deuteronomy 16:17

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”  Proverbs 3:27

“Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  2 Corinthians 9:6-7

5.  Let your children be involved in the decision of what cause to support or what item to buy.  

If you are buying for a family in need or a drive like Operation Shoebox, let your children help pick out items in the store.  Perhaps you have several local opportunities you can share with your children and they can be involved in the decision process.  Last year, we looked through a gift catalog from World Vision and my children decided to save for ducks.  The “life-changing animal” section can be particular interesting to young children.

6.  Consider matching or contributing to their goal.  

If my children are working on saving or earning money towards a particular and worthy cause, I am more than happy to help them and give to or match their earnings.  Not only does it get help to the recipient faster, but I can (within reason) keep up the kids’ motivation as we make headway in their goal.

7.  Help them explore ways to earn money.

In what ways can your kids earn money?  Give suggestions and ideas.  Sell lemonade.  Do chores for Grandma and Grandpa.  If they learn extra Bible verses, can they earn coins? Give your kids extra chores at home.

Many of our household chores like laundry, emptying the dishwasher and cleaning their room and bathroom are not paid, but we do pay for extra chores like filing, weeding or cleaning my bathroom.  Scour the house for the things you have been putting off and hire them to do the chore.

8.  Teach by Example.  

Not that we’re bragging here, but when you give, take the appropriate opportunity to make it known to your children.  Let them see you giving.  Involve them in giving as a family.  Be the example you desire them to be.

* * If your family is interested in supporting a child in poverty, contact World Vision or Compassion International.  We support a little boy in Peru who is the same age as my son.  It is an amazing opportunity to help a child and teach your children to bless others.


  1. Such a great post! This is something that I have worked on with my boys since they were very young and also a component I always included in my preschool programs. I purchased your ebook a while back and loved it! You have such great and practical ideas for teaching little ones to serve. We have tried to have “Make a Difference Monday” this summer, where the boys find some way to serve others each week. This is a project they have really enjoyed!

    • Hi Kim, I love the idea of your “Make a Difference Mondays!” What kind of things have you been doing? I’d love to hear. And thank you for your sweet words about my ebook. I am praising God that He is using it.

      • Hi Kristen! So far we have made homemade chicken noodle soup for a friend who was sick. The boys helped an elderly neighbor to clean up her yard. They collected food for the local food pantry. The boys also cleaned out their rooms and researched different organizations online and found the one they wanted to donate to. Once they did the research and realized the need many children have they went back to their rooms and found shoes and clothes they could offer as well. Next Monday will be focused on their Daddy. He is having spinal fusion on Tuesday and is a bit nervous. We are going to make him a care package for the hospital. Each of the boys have been researching 5 verses relating to the comfort God provides. They have begun writing one letter per verse, to their Dad explaining how the chosen verse can help him not to be afraid. We will put each letter in an envelop and write on the front “Open if you are feeling anxious.” Or “Open and read to know God is with you.” We will put these envelops in a box, along with pictures, drawings, and some of their Daddy’s favorite treats. This will not only be a difficult surgery for my husband physically, but also emotionally as he will not be able to see the boys for 5 days. Prayers are welcome and very much appreciated! Love your blog and look forward to your ideas and encouragement!

        • Kim, I love all your ideas! May I share them in a post in August? I think it is wonderful how you are raising your boys. How old are they?

          And I will most definitely be praying for your husband and family next Tuesday (adding it to my calendar) and throughout recovery. I’m sure his letters will be of great encouragement to him.

          Blessings, Kristen

          • Oh course you may share our activities! I am honored. I will even try to take a couple of pictures if you’d like. 🙂 My boys are 10 and almost 8. We are really trying to instill the concept of having a servant’s heart. We have also done large group activities with their youth group from church. At Christmas time, last year, we went and decorated the dining room at a senior apartment building. The residents were so appreciative and our youth group got to share the gospel with a few of them. It was an awesome experience! This year we will be going to our local Senior Center and decorating their Christmas tree.

            Thank you for praying for my husband. I know he will be just fine and I am looking forward to him not living in constant pain and being able to enjoy every day physical activities such as walking.

            Have an awesome week!

          • Hi Kim! I’ve been wondering how your husband is doing. How is his recovery and how did the surgery go?

            And if you have any pictures, I’d love to use some for the post. Send them to kristen (at) CelebrateEveryDayWithMe.com.
            Thank you!!