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Teaching kids about charity

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Some people say that teaching kids about charity and to share their good fortune with others may be the most important money lesson of all. Modelling generosity and education young people about sharing and giving builds on the innate sense of compassion that all children are born with. Empathy for another’s suffering has been observed in babies as young as a few months, but without attending to this quality, it’s easy to lose sight of it once they become toddlers in our consumer ‘me first’ society.

Developing compassion

Like anything else, compassion and generosity can be likened to muscles, that if exercised, will grow stronger and with the seemingly constant disasters that are reported in the news, lots of parents are finding ways to turn these catastrophes into opportunities for their families to learn about giving and reaching out to others in times of need. So from having a conversation with your kids after seeing a disaster appeal on television, what are other steps that you can take to build their charity muscles up?

What can YOU do?

teaching kids about charityHave a family clothes throw out. Every so often go through all your clothes and take those that are no longer used to your local charity shop. Spend the time with your children choosing for themselves which clothes or toys they would like to donate and encourage conversations about where things may end up and what differences they may make.

Have a family party where you ask people to make a donation to a charity rather than bring presents or food contributions and then have conversations at the party about which charities were donated to and why. Ask your friends what their personal favourite charities are and what difference they think the work makes in the would. Ask your children what sort of charity they would like to support or set up and why.

As a family, think about who else in your neighbourhood needs support and see if you can find ways of offering help. Encourage your kids to offer to clear up leaves or shovel snow for elderly neighbours and together bake some cakes and take them around to share.

Give blood

Give blood regularly and take your children with your so that they see you doing so and can have conversations about what it means and the differences that it makes. Find your local blood giving sessions here http://www.blood.co.uk/giving-blood/

Pocket money and older kids

If they have pocket money ask them if they’d like to spend some of it on a contribution to put in the food bank baskets at supermarkets. Remember to include pet food in your donations too! Make a charity jar at home for all the family to donate too and then take it in turns to decide who to donate the contents too.

For older kids, there are ways that they can become more involved in charity work. They can organise a fundraising activity such as a skydive or bungee jump for the charity of their choice and they could spend part of a gap year out working for a charity abroad. Let them lead the way with decisions about what sort of cause they would like to support, remembering that different issues will speak to them from those that are close to your heart.

All these and other small acts go a great way in building up an attitude of remembering and helping others so that when there is a crisis it’s not such a leap for youngsters to respond well. It also teaches that giving is a way of life rather than an occasional act.

 

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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