Service: How to Teach Children The Importance Of Giving
I want my kids to know that their actions can really make a difference in the lives of others. A few years back, my grandmother asked that we no longer give her gifts at Christmas, but instead take the money we would have used and donate it to a local food pantry. I could have just written a check and stuck it in the mail, but I decided I would take my kids to the organization to hand deliver food products and use this as an opportunity to teach my kids the importance of giving.
A week or so before we went, I started talking to my 4-year-old and 6-year-old about what we would be doing. I obviously got their attention, because they started asking about when we would be going. I explained that, first, we would go to the grocery store to purchase food, and then we would drop off the items.
When the day arrived, we drove up to the drop off site, and I told the kids they would each take turns placing items into the collection container. I could see the excitement on their faces, and they were practically fighting over who would hand over the next item. After we were finished, we discussed how it felt to be hungry, and I asked if could they imagine feeling that way all the time. Their responses were, "That would feel bad," or "That would feel yucky." I told them that by giving this food, they were helping a little boy or girl to not feel hungry.
This is the third year we have made this trip, and although my kids still have much to learn about helping others in need, I hope these continued visits each year, along with other volunteer opportunities, will leave them thinking about how they can truly make a difference in other people's lives.
If you are looking to donate to a local food pantry, visit feedingamerica.org and look for the "FEEDING AMERICA IN YOUR COMMUNITY" tab on the right hand side of the page. If you still need further details, I suggest calling a local church in your community, and they should be able to direct you to an appropriate organization.
How do you teach your children the importance of giving? I would love it if you would share your own ideas to help inspire others.
Carlee Colonneso is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and is a wife and mother of 3. She is a stay-at-home mom, and blogger at FrugalandFunMom.com. Her website features posts on Product Reviews, Giveaways, Recipes, and Fun Activities for the Family.