It’s not uncommon to see a child stop when they see another child crying and ask “why is he crying” and even go as far as to offer a toy or hug to help. Or for my own kids to offer to feed me if I say I’m hungry or for them to say “mommy are you okay?” if I stumble, get hurt or have an accident.
Children are inherently full of love and enjoy helping those around them, but if we also want our kids to become caring, compassionate and charitable adults, then we have to teach it to them. We have to teach them that caring about others is good and that it’s good to help those in need.
From hunger, to homelessness, to cancer research, the world is in desperate need of charitable people. But teaching your child to give to others is not only good for the world, it’s also good for your child. In research recently published by Harvard Business School, giving to others promotes happiness, enhances your sense of purpose and increases your satisfaction with life.
So teaching your child to be charitable is good all the way around – for the world and for your child.
5 simple ways to teach your child about charity today:
1. Start a “giving bank.” A “giving” bank is a piggy bank that the whole family contributes to and when the bank is full, the money is donated to a specific charity. Doing this makes giving a family activity and makes it more fun for your child. It’s also a great way for parents to model giving to their children and for you to practice what you preach.
2. Choose a different charity every year and encourage your child to learn about it. From the flood victims of Kashmir, to families in our own communities who need clothes and furniture for their kids, there are many different people in this world who need help. By focusing your giving on a different group every year, you’re providing your child with a wonderful educational opportunity to learn about the many different causes and struggles worldwide. Choosing different people annually will also show your child that everyone with a need is equally deserving of our compassion.
3. Make giving a holiday tradition. Have your child pick out a toy and donate it to child in need this Christmas holiday. There’s no better way to make the act of giving more emotionally satisfying than to put a smile on a child’s face. It might help you to start a new holiday tradition.
4. Give through your child’s school. From food drives to clothing drives, take advantage of any charity events run by your child’s school. Getting involved through your child’s school will enhance your child’s sense of community at his or her school while teaching them about the value of helping others. If your child’s school doesn’t do charity programs, take the initiative and have your child start one.
5. Make birthdays a time for receiving and giving. Encourage your child to give away old toys that are in good condition every birthday when your child receives new toys. It will help families in need, teach your child about giving and help you to de-clutter. So it’s a win-win for everyone. To help you get started. There are many organizations that will accept your toy donations. Some of them include Room to Grow for New York residents, Goodwill, Toys for Tots and Second Chance Toys. You can also contact local family shelters in your area and ask them if they need donations. So get to it. Happy teaching and happy giving.
Notoya Green is an on-air parenting expert and mother of three-year-old triplets. A former law attorney, Notoya put her law career on hold to become a stay-at-home mom to care full-time for her children. She now shares her experiences at Triplets in Tribeca.