As the school year finally rears its head, there’s a lot we think about teaching our children. We want them to do well in school, and even though the classroom may look different this year, their education is still important. Though you may not be as in-the-know about the curriculum as the teachers, that doesn’t mean your kids can’t learn from you as well.
For example, as a parent, you can teach your kids about important character-building traits. Consider things like empathy, compassion, and generosity—these are the sort of things that you can help your child learn. Generosity is a great place to start, as it touches on quite a few other key traits as well. To help build this trait in your children, follow these ways to teach your kids the importance of giving back.
Encourage Creative Thinking
How does creative thinking tie into giving back? Think about how naturally children want to share, and how imaginative their minds are. Pair those together and you get creative generosity—a generosity that sticks like a habit to children. Rather than forcing anything on the children, they get the opportunity to use their own imagination to support the areas of their life they deem important.
When you encourage this creative thinking and creative generosity at a young age, you have a better chance of raising children who understand the importance of giving back.
Start Generous Acts at Home
That said, bringing your kids right to the center of donations, volunteering, and fun runs may not be the easiest situations for them to grasp. Let the kids start small by keying in on generous acts at home. Sometimes, the easiest way to teach your kids the importance of giving back comes from how they give back and how their generosity shows at home. Create some generous acts at home, including different activities they can do to at home that showcase the power of generosity. Here are just a few examples:
- Helping a sibling out with a chore
- Mailing letters to elderly family members
- Completing chores without complaints
- Working in the garden
- Gathering clothes for a donation
- Cooking dinner
- Doing yard work without complaint
Focus on Monthly Giving
We love the idea of helping kids understand giving back by reinforcing the idea each month. As a family, decide which charitable organizations you’d like to support each month. Whether it’s benefiting veterans one month, supporting people who are blind the next, and helping out animals the following month, this is a step you can take as a parent that will impact even your littlest ones. Here’s an example of what a year of giving could look like:
- January: Support the Red Cross, as it’s National Blood Donor Month
- February: Support Black-owned businesses and organizations
- March: Support local homeless shelters
- April: Support domestic violence prevention organizations
- May: Support organizations like the National Federation of the Blind
- June: Support environmental organizations
- July: Support wildlife conservation efforts
- August: Support school supply efforts
- September: Support alcohol and drug rehabilitation organizations
- October: Support international organizations
- November: Support veterans
- December: Support soup kitchens and local shelters
When kids are shown something consistently, they have a higher chance of taking it in. Think of it like practice—the more you practice for something, the better you get at something. It’s the same idea with any learned trait. The more you work at that trait, the more receptive you become to that trait, and the more naturally you’ll get the trait. That’s what the hope is for kids. The more you make monthly giving (to varied sources), the more they’ll understand that generosity is a constant and consistent effort.
While you key in on different charities throughout the year, make sure that you’re also educating the kids on why charity is important. Like most things, kids won’t want to follow through unless they know the reason why. Need them to brush their teeth before bed? First, they’ll ask why. Want them to understand the importance of giving back? You’ll need to explain why they should.
Educate them on the power of helping your community. Teach them that one can’t accomplish nearly as much alone as one could with their community supporting them. Teach them about how helping the animals and the environment makes for a healthier environment for them and for future generations. No matter what the topic centers around, or what charity you choose, make sure they understand how they’re making an impact—no matter how small.
Delve Into Different Areas of Charitable Giving
There’s more to charitable giving than simply donating money. This is something a lot of adults have a hard time grasping, let alone children. However, when you delve into these different areas of charitable giving with children, then they’re even more likely to feel that they can participate and work on their generosity from a young age.
Most children don’t have the money to donate to charity, but they do have the ability to give in other forms. Explain that they can donate clothes and other goods from around the home (with your approval, of course). Encourage them to participate in charity events, such as runs for a cause or different donation drives. If they’re old enough, show them the power of volunteering—whether it’s at a nursing home, soup kitchen, or animal shelter.
When you showcase all the different ways they can give, then they will understand how generosity is possible in all areas of life.
Lean Into Emotions
This may seem strange to key in on when it comes to charitable giving but tapping into emotions is another way to make generosity a habit that sticks. Emotional intelligence isn’t just good for getting people to give back— it’s also essential to successful development in children. When we focus on empathy, explain the pain and suffering others go through, and learn our ability to help them survive, cope, and thrive, that will make a lasting impact. Don’t underestimate the power of emotions, especially when showing children the importance of giving back.
We hope you found this guide on the different ways to teach children the importance of giving back helpful. When you’re taking your first generous step, turn to GreenDrop. Your donations help various organizations—it’s a simple task that you can complete once a month to support different charities. For example, one month you can support the Society of St. Vincent de Paul with donations, and the next month you can help the American Red Cross. Generosity is limitless!