Teaching children about kindness and caring for others can be a very rewarding experience for both of you. Learning about charity together, and working out how they can help others helps your child to build an understanding of charitable giving for later life. You can find lots of age appropriate ways to give back as a family, and feel good about helping others.
Start Small With Kindness
If you’re already teaching your children how to be well-mannered, kind people, you can start pointing out that this is a good foundation for charity. Visiting a sick family member and doing something kind to help them out, like making them a cup of tea of bringing in some grocery shopping is a kind thing to do that children can understand.
Let Them Choose Their Cause
Take some time to chat about different charities and what they do with your children and see what appeals to them to support. A good place to start might be charities focused on other children. For example, small children could pack up old toys to donate to the local children’s ward. Older children can help you choose a charity for children to support such as choosing to sponsor an orphaned child in Iraq.
Children often love animals, so an animal charity could also be a good choice. You could donate old blankets to the nearest dog shelter, or volunteer as a family to walk the dogs. Adopt an animal at the local zoo or an animal in a sanctuary, like an elephant or a tiger. This could also be a good way to talk to children about the environment.
Give As A Family
Getting children to take an interest in charity will be much easier if the rest of the family get involved too. Ask the children to help you choose tinned food to donate to food drives, or take them with you to any fundraising events you take part in to raise funds for a nonprofit. The most common way for kids to raise money is to set up a lemonade stand, but don’t let your creativity stop there! You can get your children involved in selling unique fundraising products such as cookie dough to raise money. Use this as an excuse to talk to them about the cause and why it’s important.
Start charitable traditions, like making a donation to the same charity every year. You could decide to always make a donation to the local food bank at Christmas, or buying gift parcels for a nearby women’s shelter. Set up a charity pot at time, that everyone puts loose change in throughout the year. At the end of the year, count up what has been saved and decide as a family where you would like to donate the money.
Children may not always be able to donate money, so teach them that time can be just as valuable as money. You could start by helping them to do things for elderly neighbours, like helping with the gardening, bringing in shopping or walking their dog if the pavements are icy. For older children, you could suggest they volunteer at local hospitals, animal shelters or other charities. Any child can take part in charitable events at school.