Introducing children to charity early in their lives can lay a foundation of philanthropy that lasts a lifetime. The more kids witness charitable giving, the more likely they are to embrace charity as they grow up.
Teaching children that it is better to give than to receive can be challenging, but it's never too early to instill philanthropic feelings in a child. In order to help young children understand what it means to be charitable, try these ideas.
Open a dialogue
A study from the United Nations Foundation and the Women's Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis found talking to children about giving increased the likelihood that children would give by 20%.
Being specific makes a difference in getting the message out there. For example, rather than mentioning having to give because it makes the world a better place, experts suggest explaining how donating food will help feed the less fortunate who cannot afford to feed themselves.
Lead by example
Calling children over when doing something that pertains to philanthropy can also spur a child's interest in helping others. Show them checks being written to help various nonprofits, or include them in outings that involve volunteer work.
Look for easy ways to give
Charity doesn't require a large amount of money or substantial effort, and starting with something simple can make for an introduction to charity. Begin with small projects kids can embrace and understand. Spend time going through clothes that no longer fit and make a trip to a charitable clothing drive or collection bin.
Bring children to a clothing or toy store and pick out an item that can be donated to a less fortunate child. This way, he or she can participate first-hand.
Help out neighbors
Being charitable doesn't have to mean spending tons of money or even putting together material things. It can involve donating time to others who may need assistance. Service-oriented projects such as raking leaves, baking cookies or taking in elderly neighbors' garbage cans are all types of charity. Children can become friendly and play with other children who may have a parent serving in the military or support someone who has special needs.
Get involved with pets
Animals and children seem a perfect match, and one charitable effort kids may embrace is helping animals. Bring food or pet supplies to a shelter or the local humane society. Allow children to interact with the animals they are helping.
There are many ways to acclimate children to charitable living, and doing so may lay the foundation for a rewarding life.