We all want our children to grow up being able to take care of themselves. Important skills to teach kids in addition to independence include empathy, caring, respect, and generosity. Teaching kids to think about others and to give to those who are less fortunate is easy with you as a model your children will learn from an early age that giving and charity are a way of life. This post contains affiliate links
Talk about the importance of giving. Books that highlight the importance of giving include: The Giving Tree, Random Acts of Kindness, The Giving Book, The Talking Eggs, I Can Make a Difference, and Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen.
Ways to Involve Children in the Act of Giving
Work together. Create a list of ways that you can help others. Kids have wild imaginations and you never know what will end up on your list. If an idea is too crazy, add it to the list anyway! A few days later talk about an alternative activity that would work. Maybe adopting ALL the animals at the pet shelter isn’t going to work for your family, but donating food once a week is a great idea. When brainstorming there is no such thing as a bad idea. Be enthusiastic that you are working together on such an awesome task!
Start small. Helping others doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal and kids often remember the small acts just as well as the huge acts. Go around the house and find all the loose change you can (those couch cushions have to be hiding a few cents) and donate that money at a change drop off (we have seen them at Walmart, McDonalds, a local thrift store, and more). It’s fun for kids to drop money into a box!
Money is not required. Money is definitely not a requirement for teaching kids to be generous. Make cards for soldiers and give them to your local Red Cross who will distribute them or mail them to Bert’s Big Thank You and they will take care of everything for you. This is a great Girl Scout, Boy Scout, classroom, and neighborhood project. Set up a singalong with a group of kids and ask if you can perform at a retirement home.
Volunteer with your children. Finding a place that allows young children to participate is tricky, but volunteer with your children. They may be able to help you shelve books at the library, stock items at the food bank, distribute fliers, or feed animals at the animal shelter. By being part of the solution your child will learn how it feels to help others.
Shop for others. Whether you are using a coupon and picking up a freebie (see what’s free this week) or budgeting a specific amount of money for charity you can have your child pick items from the store shelf while you are shopping. Back to School and the Holiday Season are also great times to involve children in shopping for the less fortunate.
Here is a list of Ways Kids Can Volunteer (in case you need some more motivation)
- Donate old toys to a homeless shelter.
- Donate books to a domestic violence shelter.
- Donate food to your local food pantry.
- Donate Money – no explanation needed!
- Help neighbors – from bringing over a meal, walking a pet, or putting out the garbage no task is too small!
- Walk for a cause with a 5K or Fun Run for a charity that you would love to support.
- Create activity boxes to drop off at a children’s hospital.
- Pick up litter on your next nature walk or walk around your neighborhood.
- Create a butterfly garden in your backyard to help with the decreasing numbers of butterflies
- Make some no-sew dog toys for animals in shelters using old sheets or jeans
- Make birthday cards and deliver or mail to a homeless shelter.
- Deliver treats to your local fire or police station.
Make philanthropy a family value.
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