How to show your children the value of charity?
If you are like most parents, you desire for your children to grow up to be giving and empathetic adults. You can help them to get a headstart on these admirable qualities by helping them to learn to be charitable at an early age. Here are five ways to teach your kids the value of charity.
Model good behavior at a young age
It is never too early to begin modeling altruistic behavior to your children. Even at the toddler age, you can begin giving children positive reinforcement for showing kindness and empathy. This act is the building block of a mindset focused on charity and valuing others.
Once your children get older, you can become more purposeful about what you teach them. Kids as young as elementary school age can participate in volunteer activities such as cleaning parks and other family-friendly activities. If you make it fun for them, they will naturally begin to associate positive feelings with the act of giving back to others.
Do not let finances hold you back
Many people mistakenly believe that you need extra disposable income to be able to be charitable. Do not make the mistake of letting your personal finances hold you back from teaching your kids to be charitable.
Teaching the value of charity does not necessarily equate to giving away your money. While donating your cash is certainly a quick and meaningful way to make a big impact, it should not be the only way that you model this altruistic behavior. Praising kids for even raising or donating a little bit of money can be the start of a lifetime of giving that will truly add up over time.
Donate, donate, donate
Do not discount the value of the material goods that you no longer have a use for. Start with cleaning out your closets and donating the items that you no longer use and are still in good condition. In today’s digitally connected world, it is easier than ever to list household goods, furniture, and other items for people with a need to take away.
Even your vehicles can be donated to deliver a world of good to others in need. There is even a Utah car donation program that benefits kidney patients in Utah and Idaho. You never know how much your used items can be a benefit to someone else.
Teach empathy through volunteering
You cannot put a price tag on the value of teaching your kids how to give back through volunteering their time. Start your search by determining what are the greatest needs in your community. Volunteering as a family is a great way to bring everyone closer together with a common goal while also giving back to the world around you.
This act will resonate more with your children if you choose something that is relevant to them and their interests. For example, if you have an older child who plays a specific sport, they will get more out of an experience such as volunteering at youth sports camps. If your child loves animals, ask around to see if there are any shelters that need help.
Make it a habit
The best way that you can engrain the value of charity in your children is to make it a habit. For example, if your kids know that you buy toys for underprivileged families each holiday season, it will become a habit that they will likely carry over to their adult lives.
There is no shortage of ways that you can make charitable giving a habit. Perhaps you want to encourage your kids to automatically give a certain percentage of their allowance to their favorite charity? Or maybe you want to make it a tradition to volunteer at a soup kitchen every Thanksgiving? Once this becomes an event that is a part of your family fabric, it will be something that feels natural and automatic to your kids.
All five of these steps will go a long way in creating a growth mindset focused on giving back to others. Once your children realize how good it feels to be charitable, they will be more likely to stick with it as they grow older.