Charitable giving is a family tradition in many households. Many parents find that the earlier they introduce their children to charitable giving and volunteering, the more likely their kids are to embrace these efforts, both immediately and into adulthood. Parents can impart lessons to their youngsters about the importance of giving during the end of the year, when many charities raise their public profiles, or when newsworthy events, such as devastating storms, draw attention to the less fortunate.
Charitable giving increases self-esteem and self-confidence. Children who learn they can help others will soon realize they have the power to make a difference. Recognizing that they can make a big change is a very empowering discovery for kids. Here’s how parents can foster a love of giving.
• Choose age-appropriate tasks. Young children do not have a lot of money, so try to find charitable tasks that allow them to donate their time and skills. Kids can help make cookies for bake sales or participate in food drives in front of grocery stores for certain charities.
• Let children choose the beneficiary of their efforts. Children may have their own ideas about who they want to help. Let kids choose because they’re more likely to get behind the effort if they feel their input is valued.
• Lead by example. Don’t just pay lip service to the idea of being charitable. Provide a good example by getting involved yourself. Make sure the entire family gets involved with the effort of giving.
• Let children see where their efforts are going. Writing a check is a rather unceremonious way of giving that may not resonate with young children. But if they can see food being delivered to the hungry or pet supplies going to an animal shelter, they can see the fruits of their efforts paying off.
• Create a giving account or box. Make it a family tradition that members of the household will donate an item they receive or a small amount of money to the box each month. At the end of the year, the family can deliver those funds and gifts to a charity of choice.
• Talk about giving at dinner. Make philanthropy a regular part of family conversation. Discuss the plight of the less fortunate with your children, focusing on the value of volunteering and helping others.
Children can learn to be generous and give to others at an early age, and those that do are more likely to grow into charitable adults.