Giving to our children is a natural overflow of our love for them – and it’s a beautiful thing. Teaching our kids to be givers, however, is not always as natural; it must be practiced and learned.
I often struggle to be generous, especially during this time of year when there are so many additional expenses. I sometimes wonder if I’m capable of teaching my daughter generosity, when I’m such a work in progress. But the truth is, our kids don’t need us to be perfect; they just need us to be “working on it” and teach them to do the same.
Since I have room to grow in this area, I decided I needed to find out what the experts have to say. I’ve read several articles on growing little givers– and here’s what I found:
5 Tips for Instilling Generosity in Your Children
1. Involve your kids in the entire process of giving.
Parents are often tempted to do the work for their kids when it comes to gift-giving. However, in this PBS article, they recommend having your kids go shopping for presents and letting them wrap and decorate the gifts themselves. I love this, especially for kids 4 and up. 🙂
2. Talk to them specifically about giving and why it’s important.
If giving is a natural part of your family culture, you may assume your kids will absorb it through osmosis. However, this is not necessarily true. In this CNN article, I read an interesting statistic. In a study performed for the United Nations Foundation, researchers found that kids whose parents talked to them about giving (rather than just doing it) were 20% more likely to give to charity than those who didn’t discuss it.
3. Make giving tangible.
Adults are able to feel the pain and joy of “invisible giving”– such as donating to a charity online. However, kids aren’t like this. They need giving to be tangible and visual. There are many creative ideas out there on how to do this. I particularly like the idea of making your kids Give, Spend & Save jars for their allowance.
4. Encourage your kids to give to other kids in need.
Kids are more likely to want to give to other kids. There are many charities that focus on kid-to-kid giving, but my favorite is Children’s Hunger Fund. At this organization, there are several ways to get your kids involved in feeding hungry children and families, both locally and around the world. (My church is super involved in this ministry, so I know it’s reputable).
Here are some of the programs they have available:
For this project, kids collect their coins in a special box and mail the coins in to provide food for others.
Donating $12 as a family provides a box of food, delivered by hand to a family in need.
CHF also provides the opportunities for kids of all ages to come in and help pack food boxes at their distribution centers, which are located in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and San Antonio.
You and your kids can also pick out a specific gift to give to a person in need. You can buy anything from beans ($6) to livestock (from $10) to Bibles ($5) on their gift catalogue.
5. Make giving a household habit.
In almost every article I read on teaching children generosity, the common thread was the importance of giving all year. If you make giving a part of your family culture, your kids will be much more likely to be good givers.
Got any other ideas on growing generosity in your children? I’d love to hear them!
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