Events like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes bring the needs of others to the forefront for many families. The unfortunate abundance of natural disasters in our world gives parents lots of opportunity to instill a philanthropic spirit at home. But for families looking to make charity part of everyday life for themselves and their children, giving to others needs to happen throughout the year. Try a few of our pay-it-forward tips to help others and grow a family full of giving hearts.
Teach about the greater good. We hear it all the time, live by example. While this advice rings true for all of us, it couldn’t be more true for the family, where kids first learn the concept of self and society. At home, give even the smallest kids a chance to get involved and help. This means working on things together, having chores at early ages and creating a “greater good” environment within the home from the very start. Knowing what we do—and how we help—affects others is a beneficial concept for young kids to grasp.
Just be helpful. Take a look—there are opportunities to help all around you. If you’re able, give to the homeless man on the street, participate in the charitable efforts of friends and family, jump in to help a neighbor going through a rough time. Look for hands-on opportunities that give kids a concrete understanding of what charity is (as opposed to financial donations only) and make sure your kids are as involved as possible. Let them see you share some cash or have them make a meal for a friend or do yard work for neighbor in need. Getting them involved allows them to grow up understanding that giving feels good and is part of life.
Donate regularly. Most of us have too much stuff at home; our closets and basements can stand a regular cleanout. Plan yours monthly and get kids in on the act. Take a look at belongings and ask yourself, “Do I still use this?” If you don’t, place it aside for donation to an organization like Goodwill or AMVETS. When you donate, take kids along and explain the process. Seeing their old items find a new, useful home goes a long way toward understanding the importance of philanthropy.
Encourage ideas. Just like adults, kids’ passions can bloom into amazing things. Tap into those passions to help kids create their own ways to contribute. For instance, if your child loves to read, maybe they’ll find ways to get more books in underprivileged kids’ hands, or if they love fashion, maybe they’ll dream up a way to get much needed clothing to those who need it most. Talk about what’s important to your kids and together, dream up ways to make a difference.