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March 23, 2018

Teaching Children the Art of Giving

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Teaching children the art of giving develops kindness, compassion, and caring for others.

When Kennisyn was a four years old, she overheard a conversation between her parents about giving to the United Way of Central Indiana. Kennisyn chimed in and told her parents that she would also like to donate.

Each day for one week, Kennisyn took money from her pink piggy bank to school and donated to the United Way collection jar in her class. Kennisyn even asked other family members to contribute to her classroom jar to raise money for children in need.

At any age, we can all make a difference in someone’s life by showing compassion. We can shot that through our giving, acts of service and volunteering.

Giving and volunteering can be a normal part of your family life. When they are, you teach your children strong core values. And you show these values in action!

There are many creative ways families can teach children the art of giving. These ideas can work for moms, dads, grandparents and guardians who want to help children become involved in their community.

1. Thinking of others.

Sometimes knowing that someone is thinking of you can help you get through a rough time. Next time you and your children sit down to draw or paint a picture, ask who you can share it with to brighten their day. Share it with a family member, a neighbor or friend. You can also frame the picture and give to a local hospital or senior living center.

“Kitties make people smile. Who do you think will smile when they see your drawing?”

2. I can make a fundraiser too!

Children can learn about creativity, business practices and sharing with a lemonade stand or bake sale. Work with your child, and let them be part of the process of making a product and selling it. At the end of the day, help them count their earnings.

“How much money did you raise?”

“Who do you want to give the money to?”

3. Acts of Service.

Have your little giver ask family, friends and classmates join you in making care packages for people who need them. Start by identifying a cause or organization collecting items. Then, reach out and find out what they need.

“Hi, I’d like to organize a drive to benefit your organization. My son and I want to find out if there are any specific items you need right now.”

Common donation items include non-perishable food, such as rice or pasta, canned goods and bottled water. Personal hygiene items, like soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste also make great items for people who do not have a home to go to. In the winter, many organizations ask for blankets, coats, socks, hats and gloves.

“It’s very cold outside, what can we do for people who don’t have warm blankets for sleeping?”

“What do you think we can do for people who don’t always have food to make dinner?”

Let your little giver pack the items and join you to drop them off. That way, they can see giving at many stages.

Need more ideas? Find a local organization doing work your child can get excited about. Does your child love animals? Maybe she has a special place in her heart for Thanksgiving meals? See if you can visit together. It’s also helpful to ask if they have a specific need (find an organization to get involved with). Giving can be a fun activity for the whole family when we do something we believe in. And it’s most meaningful when we respond to a real need.

Remember, no deed is too small when the act stems from a heart full of kindness. Sharing compassion and love for humanity are a great place to start.

Kristin Cofield is a Paths To QUALITY™ coach for Child Care Answers.

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