Christian Living | Family | God's Plan | parenting

Charitable Kids: How to Teach Your Children To Put Others First

By Hannah Whittenly

Giving is an important part of a healthy spirit, which is why we want our children to be generous. We want them to share their toys with siblings, to save a piece of candy for a friend, and when they grow up we’d be thrilled if they were able to give to worthy causes. The key to ensuring children are generous, kind, and thoughtful is to set a good example. Beyond that they need opportunities to give.

Setting the Example

Children tend to do more of their parents do than what they say. Why? Because it creates a sense of credibility. We cannot harp on how children need to think of others while we don’t.

When it comes to being generous we need to show them that that is a part of our culture – it is how our family does things. This includes pledging an amount to a good cause each year, raising money for a 5k, serving food at a soup kitchen, helping a stranger with a flat tire, and giving a dollar to a local organization when it’s raising money outside the grocery store. When they see you give they will want to give, too. This is the next step.

Give Your Kids a Chance to Give

Do your children receive money on their birthday and at the holidays? If so, then you should talk to them about what they have received, and how much they would like to give away to a cause you care about. Whether they say $3 or $20 does not really matter, just that they decide an amount to give. Feel free to set some guidelines. For example, they should not give everything away, because while that shows a fantastic heart and spirit, it is not wise.

Then take your child to the place where they are going to give with siblings if there are any, then explain to the person receiving it that this is money the child wanted to donate. Believe us when we say that they will feel absolutely great about it. Other opportunities involve taking clothing they have outgrown to the Salvation Army, cooking a meal for a family who experienced a loss, and watching a baby for a few hours so the parents can go on a date, or get a few hours of sleep.

Make It a Tradition to Give as a Family

Charity could be anything from walking the dogs at a local shelter to giving to the needy in some way or form. This could be a once a month thing or an annual tradition. However you decide to go about doing it, make sure that the entire family is engaged and supportive. Some families like to get together and decide how they’re going to give big around the Christmas season. Of course, you could choose any time of the year to do that, but it might be worth considering. It doesn’t have to be just money that you give though. If you have an older car that you’re looking to replace, for example, you might want to consider donating through a vehicle donations service, such as Action Donation Services. Another idea that you and your family could do together is adopt a street (a lot of cities do this) and help clean up after it throughout the year.

By showing your children how you give they will want to themselves. After that they should commit the act. It will give them a fantastic feeling that will make them want to do it again.

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