Introducing children to charity early in their lives lays a foundation of philanthropy that lasts a lifetime. The more your little ones witness charitable giving, the more likely they are to embrace it as they grow up.
Teaching kids that it is better to give than to receive can be challenging, but studies show the effort is well worth it; altruistic adults enjoy an overall higher quality of marital relationship, decreased depression, increased physical health and a greater sense of self-esteem than those who don’t engage in giving back.
Consider the tips below to help your young ones understand the importance of being charitable.
Open a Dialogue
A study from the United Nations Foundation and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis found simply talking to kiddos about giving increased the likelihood that children would do so by 20 percent. Being specific makes a difference in getting the message across; rather than mentioning we have to give because it makes the world a better place, explain how donating canned goods and will help feed those who are experiencing poverty and lack of access to food.
Do Good Together
Set one day a month to volunteer together as a family. Each month, rotate your cause and who gets to pick it: perhaps you pick lending a hand with a HUD project, your spouse chooses helping with a food drive and your children would like to volunteer at the animal shelter. Pitching in together not only makes giving back fun, but it cultivates wonderful memories for years to come.
Look for Easy Ways to Give
Charity doesn’t require a large amount of money or substantial effort, and starting with something simple can make for a great introduction to your little ones. Begin with small projects kids can embrace and understand. Spend time going through clothes that no longer fit and make a trip to a clothing drive or collection bin. Let your children pick out a special item at a store that can be donated to a less fortunate child.
Help Out Neighbors
Look for ways to give back right in your own backyard by encouraging your child to donate time to neighbors who may need assistance. Service-oriented projects, such as raking leaves, baking cookies or taking in elderly neighbors’ garbage pails are all forms of charity.
Courtesy of MCC