It’s important to foster a sense of charity and giving in kids – especially as they’re surrounded by today’s messages of consumerism and the value of “stuff”. Guest poster and pro mom blogger Désirée Fawn of SoFawned.com shares how she encourages the charitable spirit within her own family.
Teaching the Concept of Charity
A few months ago, during the holiday season, an advertisement came on the radio about donating toys to children in need and my daughter, sitting in the back seat of the car, began to ask me questions about it. She was four years old at the time and wondered why some children didn’t have gifts during the holidays. I did my best to explain how some children don’t have any of the things that she does — food every day, a cozy home, a school, or toys to play with. I wasn’t entirely sure what her reaction would be, but when she told me she wanted to give away her toys (“Because I have lots, mama!”) to other children, I nearly had to pull over to the side of the road for the tears that were welling up in my eyes.
Since this conversation, we have talked a lot about giving to those who are in need, be it people or animals, and how generosity is a huge part of living a good life. I think it’s so incredibly important to instill these values in our children, especially when they are growing up in an age where everything moves so quickly, greed is prevalent all around us, and the desire to have “stuff”seems to be a priority.
Foster the Giving Spirit
Teaching children to feel good about giving to charity isn’t just about teaching them to part with their birthday money or the quarters they earned from their lemonade stand. It’s about helping them to empathize and to care about others, and to put someone else’s needs before their own.
Today I wanted to share a few simple ways to help your children, no matter their age, to make their own choices and develop a fondness for helping others, donating to charities, and to be generous because they WANT to, not because we TELL them to.
To start, I’ll share another example from my daughter. At age five, she is cat-obsessed. Cats and kittens are at the top of her love list and she talks about them all the time. Now, we do have cats at home, but we certainly won’t be bringing anymore into the family at this time. This is a total bummer to a kiddo who feels like having 30 cats at home would be just fine by her.
One morning, while discussing the fact that we won’t be living in a menagerie of kittens, I told my daughter that since we can’t have another feline at home, we could visit an animal shelter and make a donation to help other cats to find homes. This put a smile on her face immediately. I explained that the cats in a shelter depend on donations of money, food, blankets, and toys so that they have a nice place to live until a family adopts them. She was completely on board and immediately went to her piggy bank to find the $5.00 bill that a relative had given her. She wanted to donate it (“Let’s go right now, mama!”) and again I had to fight back the tears.
Since that day, we have gone every month to the animal shelters in our area to make a donation. I add in a monetary donation as well (they learn best by watching us!) and she loves to hand it over across the desk before visiting all of the fluffy cats.
Find a Cause That Resonates With Your Kids
I know that my daughter is happy to donate to the animal shelter because she LOVES those cats so much. To help your kids connect with making a donation like this, find something they are truly passionate about and find a charity or program that would relate. If your child loves sports, find a charity that helps send kids to sports camp. If they love to help you in the kitchen, donate to a local food bank to help feed the people in your community.
Not sure where to find a local charity to connect with? Hop online and browse canadahelps.org to find an organization that fits!
The Emotional Payoff
Once you’ve discussed the idea of giving to charities with your children, they’ll probably start to ask questions and get excited about helping others — this is exactly what we love to see happen! Be open and willing to communicate about giving to charity with your kids and never force them to fork over their money — this could create a struggle that may be hard to reverse. My advice is to make the conversation about helping them find their own desires to help others, give to those who have less than they do, and to be compassionate and generous.
Once your kids get a taste for helping others by donating money to deserving organizations, I think you’ll find they can’t help but keep it up! Cheers, to raising giving, generous children! The world needs them!
About the Author: Désirée Fawn
Desiree Fawn is a freelance writer and blogger who lives in Ontario with her partner, her
daughter, and a Boston Terrier named Winston. She writes about family life, travel, and more at SoFawned.com and is the founder of sheblogsforyou.com, a website offering small business blogging and social media solutions. Follow @sofawned.