Have you ever thought about getting your family, especially your children, involved in giving to others? We all have! Teaching children about charity doesn’t have to be a struggle. There are lots of little things you can do that make a big difference. If you start when your children are young, it will be something they just grow up with, but you can start anytime. Here’s how:
Do: Be a Role Model
You can talk about things all you want as a parent, but if you aren’t playing the role yourself it won’t make any kind of impression on your children. Children are little mimics. Whatever they see you, as mommy and daddy doing, it the proper thing to do. Even if it’s not. If parents use lots of cuss words, children will do the same. If parents are violent, even to the slightest degree, children will grow up thinking these actions are okay. And the same goes for good actions we perform. Children look up to parents and examine their every move, so they may as well be ones we want them to possess.
Don’t: Expect Too Much
Every once in a while you’ll see a child on TV who seems to go above and beyond. They fundraise for the local hospital and at only 5 years old! Don’t expect that same passion from your own child and don’t force it. You want to teach your child to care about others, not be an activist per se. Don’t expect that teaching your child about charity and helping others will mean they’ll donate their entire allowance or be the first to think of sharing their toys with less fortunate kids.
Do: Teach Different Kinds of Charity
There is more to charity than donating money or a few cans of foods, which are both very helpful. Aside from donating money, food, toys, clothing etc. we can also donate our time. So instead of having a truck come to your home to pick up toys, you and your children can take them down to a women’s shelter personally. Your children will be much more effected if they can see the other children who have very little. Always call places you plan to visit beforehand to make sure that it’s all right. You can also volunteer at a soup kitchen. And remember volunteering at these places doesn’t only have to occur during holidays, they need help year round. A form of charity that your children might be very excited to get involved in is the kind where you put together a shoebox of gifts for children around the world who don’t have much. If your family has the budget you may even consider sponsoring a child in another country.
Don’t: Use Guilt
Saying to your child constantly “look at all these toys you have, when other children have nothing,” or “you shouldn’t complain, there are people in the world who don’t have what you have,” won’t make your child feel good about giving. Instead it will make them feel resentful. You don’t want them too feel like they are doing something wrong when they receive something new. You just want them appreciate what they have and be open to helping those less fortunate.
Giving back to the community or the world is a great thing. Make charity a part of your families life.