As parents, we want the best for our children, to teach them strong values and prepare them to become positive contributors to our community. There is no more important work than preparing our children for the life’s changes that may lay ahead. This includes having compassion for others and a willingness to give back to the communities in which they live.
Raising charitable children is a journey, set by our example and deliberate lessons that reinforces shared values of empathy, compassion, trust and a commitment to community. These values shape the character of our children and serve as the foundation for them to become charitable in their words and deeds. Contributing children – at whatever age – learn by doing and can find that helping others is selfless and self-rewarding. They learn that supporting charitable causes helps communities thrive where we can all benefit.
Below are a some tips to help parents raise charitable children:
- Make charity a family affair. Building charitable work into your child’s routine reinforces your values as a parent and as a family. There are a number of small charities in every community that could benefit from your family’s support, in addition to your faith organization or child’s school. Seek out opportunities to become engaged as a family – doing good together.
- Start early. There is significant research that supports the importance of early childhood development. Exposing your kids to a variety of experiences through charities enables them to develop their own skills while learning first hand the value charities play in our communities. Enrollment in activities provided by charities like camps, sports, arts and fundraising events provide new opportunities for your child be active contributors to an organization.
- Activities beyond school. As your kids get older school becomes a center of their experience. Exposing your children to a variety of extracurricular activities enables helps to broaden their social networks and have the chance to do good and have fun.
- Explore new charities. Pick a few charities in your neighbourhood that are not known to your family and go explore them. Learn about their history and service to the community. Make an adventure of it and bring your kids along to learn how dynamic and diverse your neighbourhood is. Your kids could make use of their technology skills by promoting a small charity on the family Instagram or Facebook account.
- Teach personal philanthropy. Learning to manage money at an early age is an important lesson in financial literacy. Many parents are doing this by giving their kids a weekly allowance and helping them learn to manage money. Taking this one step further, encouraging kids to set aside a portion of their allowance for charitable donations can help teach budgeting skills, saving strategies and the importance of giving to others in need. Creating a simple donation jar for the weekly contributions can show how the money can add up to make a big difference.
- Family budgets. Including your children in the household budgeting helps children understand both how the household works and how the family can support others along the way. Gathering around the dining room table to discuss why and what your family could donate can give you a platform to talk about what is important to everyone, what organizations are of special interest and provide insights into the world we live in.
The raising of charitable children encourages a healthy development of caring and engaged individuals, while creating the next generation of volunteers, donors and leaders for charities. Creating these opportunities will forge your kids’ character, enrich your family and benefit your community. Enjoy the journey!
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