There are so many times in my life as a parent where I want to say to my kids “don’t you know how lucky you are?!“. When they quip that I ‘don’t do anything for them‘ or that they ‘never get what they want‘, it makes my skin crawl. But how can they possibly have the perspective to know just how much they really do have? At the end of the day, just talking about gratitude and being thankful isn’t enough. Sure, it is important to be thankful, but it’s equally as important to take it one step further and actually HELP others. Raising charitable kids, kids who are willing to give not only their money but also their time and thoughts to others, is an actionable parenting goal that can make a lasting impression, with a trickle down effect to so many others involved.
Raising Charitable Kids: Actionable Parenting
There are only so many times that you can tell your child how important something is (without actually doing it) before losing some credibility. Just like with teaching kids accountability, there needs to be a culture of gratitude and thankfulness at home, starting with us parents.
Create a charitable culture at home.
Much of what we teach our children begins with us. In teaching children about giving to others, we must first demonstrate this as parents. The definition of ‘charitable’ in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:
How can you apply these values in your own home? Is it in going to help out a family member when they need help? Donating money to a cause that you believe in? Is it by showing kindness to others? Think about how you can show your kids how you demonstrate these values.
Find Ways to Give Back
Teaching Children About Giving To Others
There are a number of ways to give. Here are examples of a few to get you started.
- Money: Find a charity that your child has an interest in and help them save money to donate. Or, simple allow them to give some change to the bell-ringers outside of the store at Christmastime.
- Time: Go volunteer. There are plenty of local food banks (check out Feeding America), soup kitchens, etc. who would love to have a helping hand.
- Goods: Donate old clothing, toys and games. Involve your child in the process, discussing the fact that other kids might not have as much as you do, and by finding items to donate, you are directly helping out.
- Thoughts: Look at the definition of charitable above. How can you have a simple discussion with your child about those who need our help? Maybe just saying a simple prayer or wishing some positive thoughts can go a long way in helping your child become more charitable.
- Purchases: There are plenty of local businesses or online retailers who give a portion of their proceeds to charity. If your child is saving up to purchase something, maybe you can help them find a retailer who gives back.
- Labor: Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, pick up trash at the local park, or even participate in a fun run. Donating your time and energy doesn’t have to be affiliated with an organization to be charitable.
What to do AFTER Giving to Others
You’ve sent money to kids in need, volunteered at a local park cleanup, and donated old coats…now what? It doesn’t have to stop here. A LARGE part of raising charitable kids is the discussion. Remember the top of this post where I mentioned some of the remarks my kids made? Well giving your time, money and efforts are fantastic, and are a large part of being charitable. But it’s also your perspective and general point of view, its the gratitude and thankfulness that you show for what you have, and its the desire and willingness to help others in need. It isn’t a ‘one and done’ type of thing, it’s the way you live your life, in an effort to help and better the lives of those around you. And that, is what we teach our kids.
See how we made our spend, save, give jars!
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