This conversation about teaching kids about giving to others has been brought to you today by GiveForward in honor of #givingTuesday. All opinions are my own.
GiveForward is an online fundraising and donation website, and the easiest way to raise money for a loved one in need. We are the #1 platform to start a medical fundraiser and the only site with fundraising coaches who provide fundraising ideas and guidance on how to raise money online.”
Before we even had kids, Michael and I developed a family mission statement. We worked really hard on it and knew it was important to our family. We wanted to raise our children with intention and knew that there were core values our adult children needed to develop when they were still little ones.
Our family mission statement:
To raise empathetic, self sufficient, open minded tiny humans who love the world and their neighbors as themselves. To be a family that celebrates diversity, works, plays, and rests hard together, and welcomes adventure.”
Our kids started learning about loving their neighbors as themselves before they could walk. Honestly, it is one of my favorite core values to model and encourage in my family. For our family, giving means more than just money. We also give our time, talent, and resources.
10 Ways To Teach Kids About Giving To Others
1. Talk about giving and why it is important to your family. There are really easy ways to weave these conversations into normal life. I find myself telling Malone that if we see someone who needs our help, we need to offer it quickly and without hesitation. This translates to a little boy who is constantly on the lookout for ways to be a helper in our day to day.
2. Look for opportunities in the everyday. This is one of the easiest ways to get kids involved in giving. It can be simple things like holding the door open for a stranger, giving a few dollars to a homeless person on the street (or better yet, a hot meal), or bringing popsicles to the gas and electric guys working on your street on a hot day. I’ve written in the past about how I don’t know any other way to teach my son about how to serve others, other than do to do it myself and include him.
3. Model service yourself. When Malone was three, he dropped and cracked the screen on our iPad. Mike took it upon himself to learn how to fix the shattered screen himself, instead of paying for the repair. Since then, he has voluntarily fixed the broken iPhone screens (a very similar process) of several members of our church and friends. Our kids see daddy working on our friend’s phones and it opens up a conversation about giving our time and talent to serve our friends.
4. Say “yes” to their ideas about giving to others. Recently, one of the little girls in our life group (small group) at church lost her lovie- a monkey. Malone has his own lovie, a stuffed cat named Puba and we were talking about what happened to Jilly’s monkey. I was reinforcing our family rule that Puba can come with us on adventures, but he must must MUST stay in the car and wait for us when we’re out and about. Without hesitating, Malone told me that he’d like to buy Jilly a new monkey friend. It wasn’t on my radar to gift her with it, but he knew how sad she must be feeling and wanted to help.
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5. Praise and encourage them when they look beyond themselves and give. The more positive reinforcement a kid gets for something, the more likely he or she is to want to do it again. At some point, we’ll have to teach Malone (and baby Lola too) that not every good deed or giving needs praise. But, while they are still so little a little cheering goes a long way. I often feel like a fool when I do it, but I still do it.
6. Let them know about needs within your community and suggest ways to help.
GiveForward is a great way to raise funds for those in our community for medial bills, vet bills, funeral expenses, for those who lost their world in a fire, or medical bankruptcy. Getting started takes just a few steps and they’ve got an entire team of mentors to help you.
- Tell your loved one’s story (with their permission).
- Upload a photo and set your goal.
- Submit and start sharing!
7. Volunteer together. Malone has to be six before we can really start doing this (our favorite charity’s rules, not ours). I can’t wait to serve along side with him!
8. Invite them into your decisions about where the money in your charity budget goes. We recently started supporting a child through Compassion International. Malone was very involved in the process and ended up choosing the child we’re sending support to. He’s invested in it and has already sent off a few letters. In a few weeks, he and I are walking/running a 5k together that will raise money for victims of domestic violence and their children in our community. This will be our fourth year doing the race.
9. Be a cheerful giver yourself. This one doesn’t really need much explanation does it? We have banned the phrase “we can’t afford to give xzy” in our house. Instead, if our charity budget is already dry for the month, we find other ways to help.
10. Kindness isn’t random. It is intentional. Practice intentional kindness everyday. (If you’re looking for ideas of kindness, here are 31 Intentional Acts Of Kindness).
How do you involve your kids in giving? I’d love to hear more in the comments below.