Today’s personal finance hack is about instilling the importance of charity within children.
There are many attributes parents aspire to help develop within their children and being charitable is one of them. The importance of raising children that are interested in philanthropy and helping others is linked to the extrinsic and intrinsic motivations of being charitable:
- Intrinsic motivation for teaching your kids about charity: Being charitable is a rewarding endeavor for both parents and children because helping others creates an empowering and enriching experience for the giver. Children must understand the different levels of privilege that occur within our society in order to develop empathy and gratitude for all their blessings.
- Extrinsic motivation for making your kids charitable: The existence of economic inequalities is a harsh reality, which can be addressed at the grassroot level when individuals reach out to help those at the bottom of the pyramid. Of course, governments and NGOs work towards eradicating poverty, but of great importance is the role that the public has to play in this goal.
Now that we know the importance of sowing the seeds of philanthropy within children, we can look at how to inculcate this as a habit. Charity can be taught to children at a young age, well before they earn for themselves or receive an allowance. They say, “Charity begins at home” and there’s a good reason for that. Here are three ways parents can go about the task of raising kids who actively help the poor.
1. Create a culture that promotes charity
Parents can create a culture of giving at home by encouraging children to share their belongings among family members. When positive reinforcement and praise follows each act of giving/sharing between siblings, even if it is for something as menial as a pencil or a spoon, kids begin to associate the act of giving with good feelings or self-worth. Eventually, parents can guide their children to give away old toys or clothes or a portion of their allowances to charity, whichever form it may be in, ranging from a random homeless person to a school run by an NGO or goodwill. Every little contribution and effort must be appreciated by parents so children can begin to enjoy the act of giving.
2. Set good examples of charity for children to emulate
Kids learn by example and every charitable effort made by parents gets recorded as a desirable act in the minds of children. Parents may want to first explain why it’s important to make donations so children have a bit of context. Kids may tag along with their parents whenever a deposit is made to Goodwill or other charitable organisations. Alternatively, if it’s safe enough, children can accompany their parents to give alms directly to a person in need.
It’s a good idea to mention the impact that the donated items will have on the receiver because kids have a lot of empathy and will better understand the goodness of giving to help develop a habit in the long run. Another way to stir empathy within your kids is to donate to children’s charities, such as, Save The Children or another good child sponsor organization.
3. Volunteer work by parents can teach kids to follow suit
Parents must encourage every family member to seek out volunteering opportunities participate in them, as long as it is safe to do so. While grownups may engage in high-involvement work like volunteering at old age homes or cooking meals to distribute among homeless people, children can help out in smaller projects community service projects like collecting money, old toys or clothes for an underprivileged person or helping an elderly neighbor clean their yard, all under the supervision of their parents.
The added benefit of teaching charity through volunteer work is that children understand that donating their time can be just as good and powerful as donating physical items or money.
A quick internet search will reveal more community service ideas as well as youth volunteer opportunities near you, so parents can go through the list together with their kids to determine the best options.
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