Five Ways to Teach Children About Giving

Teaching children about giving is essential to the well-being of society.  After all, they’re not going to be kids forever!  Here are five ways you can teach children how important, fun and easy philanthropy can be.

Volunteering.  You don’t have to go through a charity to volunteer your time.  Encourage your children to imagine: who in your town could use a cheerful visit? What problems can they identify that you can find something small to do to help?  This can be as simple as planting a tree, picking up litter, or making pictures and crafts to bring to folks at a retirement home.

Most kids adore animals, and animal shelters generally need a lot of help. Unfortunately, many animal shelters require volunteers to be at least 18 years of age, so playing with the cats and dogs might not be an option.  But there are other ways to help.  When your child’s birthday approaches, have a conversation with them about their love for animals.  Discuss whether they would be willing to share birthday presents with the animals at the shelter.  If they like the idea, they can request that their friends bring supplies to donate to the local animal shelter instead of or addition to birthday gifts.  Up for a challenge?  Consider becoming an animal rescue foster parent.  Many animal shelters have litters of kittens and puppies that need temporary homes until they’re old enough to be adopted.  This is a great way for your kids to experience the joy and excitement of living with baby animals, without contributing to pet overpopulation.

Fundraising is FUN!  Ah, the old lemonade stand! Kids love doing it, so why not harness their enthusiasm and help others? Talk to your children about what charities and issues interest them and agree to donate the proceeds. Not only will children learn how good it feels to give, but they might gain some valuable business skills as well. There are dozens of other kid-friendly fundraising ideas.

Read On.  Reading is a great way to spend quality time with your child as well as teach them valuable lessons. Pick out some stories that emphasize the invaluable rewards of giving, or read about a cause that you and your child are interested in. Some classic books about giving include The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.  If your little one is a green kid, here’s a big list of story books about the environment.
Look and Learn.  Learning doesn’t always have to be limited to books – the internet is a great resource! Talk to your child about what interests them and browse through various charities and organizations together to see what organization he or she would like to help. This is also a great time to give your child a Charity Gift Card “just for fun”—you can spend the time with them comparing charities and causes, and they get to pick who gets the donation.

Donate!  Donations don’t always have to be money—gently-used toys, books, and clothing can be meaningful donations.  If your children are like most kids, they might not like it at first. But getting children used to donating items that they no longer use will become a life-long practice that benefits all. “Spring Cleaning” is a good time to have your kids sort through their things to see if there are any they can give to others in need. But don’t stop at the toybox: help them go through the pantry for cans or packages of food items to donate, as well.

Modeling philanthropy for children doesn’t have to mean writing a check.  It can be as simple as having a conversation about how other people live, and ways that we can help others.  Giving is easy and helps children become socially-conscious, compassionate adults.
Thanks for reading!
-AeJung Yoon, TisBest Marketing Intern