Teaching Kids About Giving and Generosity
I am writing this post on Giving Tuesday. The origin of this wonderful day started just under 10 years ago. In 2012, Giving Tuesday began as a simple idea from a man in New York by the name of Henry Timms. He created this day to encourage everyone to "do good." Giving Tuesday has now become a global movement that inspires generosity, kindness, dignity and equity - not just today, but in our everyday lives. This got me thinking more deeply about how we can teach our children this BIG idea - especially during this time of year when giving and generosity is so widespread. For our youngest children, the act of generosity can feel like a BIG concept to cover. Here are a few things that you can do to instill generosity and giving in your children.
Sharing: From a young age, we teach our children about sharing. Whether it's splitting a cookie with a parent or sibling, or sharing toys and books with a friend, sharing is the start of children understanding and practicing generosity.
Modeling: Our own acts of generosity and giving, teaches our children how to engage in similar opportunities. Let your child know when you are caring for someone who is ill, donating items to a charity, purchasing a gift for someone, donating to an organization, or sending a card to someone "just because". Modeling generosity and giving will help your child see your actions and how they effect you and others.
Noticing Feelings: We can help our children notice how they feel when someone shares or gives to them, and notice how they feel when they share or give to someone. Do they feel proud? Generous? Kind?
Connection: Feeling a personal connection to a specific cause can create a greater sense of purpose and make the act of giving feel more significant.
Experience: Invite your child to work together with you; engage in experiences of giving, donating, helping out a family member or friend, cooking a meal for someone who is ill or grieving, volunteering at the local food bank, or engaging in other generous acts. You can also have children help pick out gifts for family and friends for birthdays or holidays.
Sometimes our children will have a difficult time with sharing or giving away things they have outgrown. This might be due to their temperament, you will need to be patient with your child. Naturally, our children are egocentric, they feel as though the world revolves around them. Overtime, we hope for our children to recognize that their world is much larger than them, their family, home, school, community - and eventually have them think globally.
There are countless ways to participate in giving and generosity. Whether you are giving your time, goods, money, or voice, acting generous is a way for us to support things that we care about. Some ideas that you might consider engaging your child in are:
-Showing kindness to a neighbor
-Picking out gifts for family and friends
-Create a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to an organization
-Volunteer for an organization
-Lend your voice to an organization
-Create a community drive (food, coats, pet food)
-Clean up a local park
-Cook a meal for someone who is ill or grieving
Engage your child in conversations about what matters to them. What are they passionate about? Generate ideas together for giving. Having your child involved will certainly create a meaningful opportunity. Let's create homes, schools and communities, where giving and generosity becomes a natural part of our everyday lives.
Together we can create a kinder, more compassionate and inclusive world. Let's find our passions and engage our children to find theirs.
Here is the link to my recent guest spot on the local daytime show, New Day Northwest. I discuss a very similar topic in helping our kids practice kindness.