Everyone knows that being charitable is a good life practice to follow, but how do you get your kids in on the action? There are several ways to teach your kids lessons about giving back–and not all them directly involve money. Showing your kids that giving is just as important as any of the money lessons you’ve taught them will set them up for a life that’s more fulfilled. Here are just a few ways you can teach your kids about giving.
Of course, the most obvious way to teach your kids to give would be to give part of their earned money to a charity or church. As we’ve talked about before, when you give them their allowance/commission, make them divide it up into the categories of spend, save, and give. Make them put a portion back for each category. Next, help your child decide which organization or cause they want would like to give their money to. By giving them the option of choosing where their money goes, they are getting to be active in the giving process. This will have a greater impact on them in the long run.
Another great way to teach your kids to give back is to donate items they don’t use or wear anymore. Perhaps the simplest way to give back, it’s an activity that you can easily do with your child. Help your child go through clothing items that no longer fit and toys they no longer play with and put the items to be donated in a box. With your child, help them pick a local organization to give them to. Explain to them where these clothes and toys may go, who needs them, and why it’s good for you to give them to someone else. Make this a regular occurrence–maybe once a season or so–that way it will help build a habit of giving.
Sometimes, extra money or objects aren’t readily available to give. It’s good to teach your kids that even if you don’t have a ton of money to give, you can always give your time. Engage your child in a small service project once in awhile to show them that giving your time can be just as valuable as giving your money. Help an elderly neighbor with some yard or housework, volunteer at your local food pantry or animal shelter– anything that will show your child how to give their time to a worthy cause. It’s important to do this several times a year so that your child won’t think it’s just a one time thing. Lead by example, and this will become a habit in no time.
Perhaps one of the more fun ways to teach a kid to give back is to make their birthday a day for giving. When throwing your child a birthday party, add an element of charitable giving to the mix. Get your guests to each bring a book or toy to donate either in place of or in addition to gifts for the birthday boy or girl. If you wanted to go another route, you could invite your guests to meet you at a local charity or service project as your “party”. Instead of playing games, you could be doing a service project for your community! This isn’t something your child would probably want to do every year, but every once in awhile it’s a good reminder to share your time with others.
Another way to teach your kids about giving is to get the whole family involved. Show your kids that you are willing to join in the giving fun by signing your family up for a service project or other event you can all do together. Races and walks for charity are a fun way to raise money as a family. Holidays are also a good time to serve as a family because there is a lot of time for family togetherness around Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can serve food for the community together, join in a toy drive, host a canned food drive and much more! It’s all what you make it, and you can definitely find tons of ideas to serve your community as a family.
So you see, there are many different ways to teach kids about giving. It may require some coaching and planning, but once you get them in the habit of giving they will enjoy giving back to their community for years to come.