For as long as I can remember, my pastor, at every offering will say, "Give as God tells you to." This applies to all of us, even the children.
My kids have been earning money for a couple years now, doing their work around the house. They have things they are required to do because they are a part of our family; it's just their normal duty. But then they each have one job that can earn them money. This is a fantastic way to teach in so many ways!
Each child has a chart on the fridge for the month. I laminated it so that each month we only have to erase the dates and rewrite in the new with a dry erase marker.
For my older two, their job will pay $1, and they have the opportunity to do it once a week. My youngest son's job is done almost daily, and will earn him 10 cents. When they do their job, they write a "C" for chore on the chart. They also must get a parent to initial the chart saying the job was well done.
Sometimes I offer "mystery dollars" which is marked with an "M" on the date it's given. I was finding that every time I asked for help, it was always the other persons turn. No one wanted to offer their assistance to me. Now I randomly try to choose one job that will be worth a dollar. They won't find out it was worth money until after the job is completed. This means they never know if a job mom is asking about could earn them a potential extra dollar. I love how well this works! I rarely have trouble getting work done around the house.
I also use the chart to keep track of groundings. I am always forgetting who I told they were grounded, and for how long. Not an issue anymore. When they are grounded the kids have to add a "G" to the chart. It makes it so much easier on me, and I'm able to be a more consistent parent.
Every first and third Saturday of the month is payday. This has taught them the value of a dollar, when it's their hard earned money. It's even been a lesson on credit. Many times they will try to convince me that they have money coming to them, and can they pay later? I always say, "Absolutely Not." I want them to learn from a very young age that credit is not something to be played around with. They must learn patience.
Since we treat this "chore" like a job, there are days the kids have been fired with no pay. They cannot complain and whine. If we were their boss in the "real world" we wouldn't tolerate that kind of attitude for long. They also must do a good job at it. I have made them go back and fix their mistakes many times.
We have used this chart for year now. It has been very successful. The kids love having the freedom to choose whatever they want to buy with their money. Most of the time they are a little bit more choosy about how they spend it. They realize the value of their toys now. That's like 3 or 4 months of work! Of course this depends on what they set their heart on purchasing.
Another big part of this "job" my kids have is our responsibility in teaching them about giving and saving. We always apply the rule, "You give some, you save some, and THEN you spend some." I always tell them they need to ask God how much money He wants them to give... because it's His money anyways.
I desire for my children to be generous. I want them to learn the value of giving to others, especially when it costs you something. It's easy to give away mom and dad's money. It's not as easy to give away what you worked hard for.
On Wednesday night, I was so touched by my son's giving. I happened to glimpse the envelope sitting next to me. I encourage the kids to use a giving envelope so they can see how much they gave at the end of the year. It's something to look forward to. If it had been me putting my 15 cents in the offering, I probably would have just written my name on the envelope, not thinking to divide it up.
Actually I wouldn't have even thought to give it. In my pride I would have thought the pennies were worthless, and I would have held onto them.
But to Gabe, this money was all he had. He wasn't giving from his surplus. He was giving his best to God. I thought it was so sweet how he divided up his 15 cents. I teared up when I saw that he wanted Kidsweek to get 10 cents of it. For where your heart is... there your money will follow.
"Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.” Mark 12:44