Encouraging Your Child To Be Charitable:
Fun Ways To Give Back
By Natalie Wilson
Our goal as parents is for our children to be caring, thoughtful and giving little people. One way to instill these qualities is through encouraging them to do something kind for someone in need, and explaining that they could be making a real difference to someone’s life. Encouraging charity work from a young age, and enabling your child to experience how great it feels to do something selfless for someone, will provide them with essential skills to become a mindful and giving adult. Here are a few ways that you can make charitable giving exciting for your children!
Throw a Charity Party
Discuss the idea of a ‘charity party’ with your child as a great way for them to get their friends involved. Set up a large craft table with a small station for each child with paper, pens, paints and glitters and encourage the children to create cards to send to children’s hospitals, to chemotherapy wards or overseas to refugee camps. Invite parents and carers and ask people to bake something each and host a mini bake sale at the same time to raise some money to send with the greetings cards to much needed causes.
You could coincide the event with a child’s birthday, and if your child wanted to, they could request donations or toys to donate instead of birthday presents, and instead of party bags, a donation could be made in the name of each child who attended the party. Of course this won’t suit everyone, but even if you incorporate one of these ideas into your child’s next party, or have all the ideas in one, it will make a big difference. The best bit of all is that your child can show that they are charitable and encourage their friends to be too.
Gift Box To Send Overseas
Creating a gift box that will be sent overseas is a fantastic way to get your child involved with charity work. Many charities offer schemes where you can either order a shoe box from their site or use one of your own and fill it with pieces of clothing, toys, hygiene items, school supplies and one or two special gifts they can treasure, such as a deflated football and pump or cuddly toy.
A great benefit of using your own box is that you can sit down with your children to make their boxes and encourage them to decorate it exactly how they want with paints, glitters, tapes and stickers. Any of your children, of any age, can get involved with this, but make sure you have the coverall bibs ready! Allow them to take pride in what they’re doing, choose the box contents themselves and make it their own so they feel pleased to be able to go and give it to somebody else who will love it as much as they do, if not more. Make it more personal with handwritten notes so that your child is able to understand that they’re helping a real person rather than a broad charity.
Giving your child the space to think about what another child would like or would use will be extremely useful, and helping them understand that not everyone has access to the essentials we take for granted can really open their eyes to important issues.
Give Them Freedom to Donate
In terms of financial giving, a great way to teach your kids about giving back is through a spend/save/share box. Many online shops sell ready made boxes, but feel free to have a go at making your own and get your children involved! When your child receives pocket money or birthday money, sit them down and suggest that it would be nice for them to set a bit of the money aside to help someone less fortunate.
If they get £10 pocket money, maybe encourage them to spend £4, save £4 towards something they would really like, and set aside £2 to share. Make it exciting for your child by suggesting they save up for a whole year so they can take all the money to someone who really needs it. After a year of saving, your child can experience visiting a local animal shelter or children’s hospice to see how their money will help and make a real difference.
While for some this may seem unnecessary, wait until you see the excitement and pride your child feels when they are able to help others and it will be completely worth it.
Teaching young children to give up something of their own for someone they don’t know can be challenging, so try starting from a young age and make activities engaging and fun and you’d be surprised at how children will respond. The best part is you will definitely enjoy it too!