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How to teach your kids to be more giving

Of course you want your kids to grow up to be caring and generous individuals. Instill in them the giving spirit with the help of these tips.

Little girl giving a present at a donation center

Have them participate in choosing gifts

Buying gifts can be stressful, especially around the holidays, when there are so many to buy! Though it may seem easier to leave the kids at home while you get the shopping done, taking them with you can teach them a lot about how to give. When kids go shopping, their natural tendency is to think about “me.” What do “I” want to eat? What toy do “I” want to play with? So shopping purely for others will be a new experience. Get them involved by asking what they think a certain relative would like or which colour looks better. Encouraging children to spend a few hours thinking about what will make others happy is a small, simple step to get them on their way to becoming naturally giving individuals.

Go volunteering with them

Humans are born naturally programmed to focus on themselves and what will make them happy, but if kids aren’t slowly taught otherwise over the course of their young lives, they may never learn to think about others. It’s easy to say to a child who doesn’t want to eat his peas that there are children in other parts of the world who don’t have anything to eat and that he should be grateful he can, but that’s a big concept to grasp for someone who’s relatively new to the world. Rather than telling your child, show him there are others in challenging situations and that there are things he can do to make their lives a little better. By volunteering with your child at a soup kitchen or food bank, you can show him or her how much just donating some of your time can do for others in need.

Raise funds for a charity together

Kids are encouraged all the time to raise money for school programs or extracurricular activities, but often it is so they can win a prize or earn a pizza party. Although such techniques may get kids raising money, it won’t teach them about why they should raise money. Often that lesson is left up to you, the parent. This year, try raising money with your child for a cause that is particularly important to you as a family. Maybe you have a relative with a challenging illness or have heard of an organization that offers particularly useful services to those in need. Find something you and your child are equally passionate about, and teach him or her the true value of giving.

Work with them to get gifts for their friends

As kids get older, it’s considered common courtesy for them to give gifts to special people in their lives, such as their teachers and friends. Although when they were younger you may have simply bought a few things and attached their names to it, now that they’re older, get them involved in the gifting process. They may not be able to buy the gifts themselves, but they can be in charge of picking what to get. You can offer direction if they seem to stray off the mark, but for the most part, make it their job to come up with ideas for those special people in their lives. As they get older, have them contribute a little bit financially as well. By starting early and taking small steps, you can establish a pattern of giving that will only continue to grow as they get older.

More parenting tips

Christmas gift giving: Treat kids without spoiling them
Raising a philanthropist: Volunteering tips for kids and teens
Volunteer kids: Raise a socially responsible child

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