If you have young children you will have noticed that they are, by their very nature charitable and compassionate. I know I often see Mr D, at just three years old, comforting and hugging his younger sister when she is upset; or my older nephews teaching my own children how to build towers and sand castles. I think you can help further cultivate these kind characteristics and teach your children to experience and enjoy charitable giving with some quick tips.
Help them manage their pocket money allowance
If your children already have pocket money then you can help them be charitable and teach them the basics of money management at the same time by setting up a “Spend, Give, and Save” policy. You can also make it a family affair by offering to match the amount that they decide to give. We often pop some money into the local Christie’s Charity dog in our village centre – the children understand that the money goes to help poorly people and they always ask to pop a coin in.
It’s not always just about money
I know that all too often giving over direct debit details or writing out a cheque are usually the first things that come to mind when we think of charity. However, the idea that a piece of paper can be of help to someone in need can be a difficult concept to grasp for very young children. We like to talk instead and let them experience charitable giving firsthand. They often come with me when we donate unwanted items to the local charity shops and we choose the shop it will go to, a health charity, a local charity or an animal charity.
Opportunities are everywhereYou don’t need to go to a soup kitchen to give your kids hands-on experience with charity (in fact, one CNBC article discourages it). Opportunities pop up all the time — from a homeless person you pass on the street to an ailing or elderly relative that you visit. Show them they have the power to make things better for people through small gestures or actions.
Let them choose their own causes
There are so many charities and I know that Damian and I each have our own charities that we personally support. You can find a lot of charities that focus on different aspects of life online. UnaKids for example is dedicated to providing education to children in war-torn countries, whilst Wigs for Kids provides wigs for children with diseases that cause hair loss. When the children are older we will talk much more about charity and charitable acts and giving and will help them to choose a charity they might want to support. (More4Kids has a handy list).
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