We teach our children to share their toys and to take turns. These are great lessons that will serve them well as they navigate life well into adulthood.
Lessons in giving are equally important but sometimes harder to bestow.
Here are three simple ways to make giving a part of everyday living and why it helps children grow:
- Start young. Sharing a passion for giving with your children can start at any age, in fact the younger the better to help them develop empathy. Having children give to other children their own age or close in age may have an even stronger impact.
- Make giving personal. If you are working with your children to pick a charity to give to, choose something they can connect with. For example, if your children are artistic, consider donating art supplies to a school program. If they have a passion for animals, consider donating to your local animal shelter. Giving in these ways helps children understand and connect to a world much larger than their own.
- Think beyond money. Kids don’t usually have cash on hand, and you may not have money to spare. Before you discount an opportunity for your family to give, think of your time and talents. Consider volunteering as a family at a local nonprofit organization. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at community centers, homeless shelters, parks, animal shelters, faith communities, the list goes on. Children will learn the value of being an active participant in the community.
Perhaps Winston Churchill said it best when he coined, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”