Three Tips for Teaching Young Children to Be Charitable
Do you ever struggle to teach your children to be charitable when their concept of the world barely extends past the ends of their noses?
When I was 25, before I became a mom, I started working for a local nonprofit called The Children's Center, whose mission is to help infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with emotional and behavioral problems. I helped with fundraising for the treatment of these very young, troubled children. This work lit a fire in me that led me to get a Masters degree in Nonprofit Administration and to pursue a career in nonprofits for over 10 years, raising money and running programs for the arts, education, Girl Scouts, and others.
Fast forward a few years. While I am fully embroiled in the homemaker line of work, with young children, giving back is still a passion of mine. And because of that, I want my kids to be involved in charitable work as well. The challenge? I have struggled to teach them to be charitable when their concept of the world around them barely extends past the ends of their noses.
Tips for Raising Giving Children
My solution? To start small in these three ways by teaching them to:
- Be aware. Teaching children to be aware of others is a simple matter of pointing out other children when you are grocery shopping, playing at public places, or when you're at church. Getting your children used to the idea that other children exist is the first step.
- Reach out. Providing your kids with opportunities to reach out to others involves actions as simple as sharing (an item or a task, like story time), throwing a ball to a friend, passing something back and forth, or anything to introduce the concept of giving.
- Make a difference. Help them focus on the importance of making a difference in others' lives. This is a harder concept for young children to grasp, but not impossible. If a friend gets hurt, encourage your child to blow a kiss. If a sibling asks for help, find a way for your young child to help along side of you. Whenever possible, assign your little one a task or chore and reward him or her profusely for helping.
After all, children do not learn to read all at once; they learn the letter names first, then their sounds, then how to put them together. Why would it be any different with them learning to be charitable.
What are small and simple ways you are teaching your children the concepts of giving and charity?
This post was written as part of the Cheerios Bloggers Circle in support of Cheerios initiative to help nourish the bodies and minds of children.