Any parent will feel proud whenever their children achieve accolades in school or are recognized for their skills and talents in the community. But what about when a child is recognized for a noble gesture such as sharing or helping a person in need? Does it not bring extra warmth to a parent’s heart?
It is indeed a proud moment for any parent to witness the child they are raising showing generosity and empathy towards others. It says something about you as the guardian, and it is telling of the kind of adult, the child will eventually turn out to be.
Interestingly, this goes beyond having a positive feeling as a parent. Studies show that being charitable boosts a sense of well-being and decreases anxiety in adults. And so raising charitable children actually helps with their mental health as they grow older.
It is said that charity begins at home, so does teaching children to be charitable. Here are some tips on raising children who care and know how to share.
Mold by modeling
Kids are impressionable and seeing their parent’s practice generosity influences them early on. If you want your child to grow up with the value of magnanimity, you have to live it to show it, and not merely speak about it.
Let them see your generosity in action and be authentic about it. Let them see your compassion and how you make an effort to help those in need. This will teach your kids that it matters. Your consistency will cause them to adopt your generous qualities and become generous children as well.
Tell them about the needs of others
Even at a young age, children have the capacity to connect dots and understand things related to poverty. If he or she has a friend whose father lost his job, you can help your child understand their situation and encourage your kid to share toys or food with his or her friend. Teach your child that no one has ever become poor by giving.
Talk to your kid about real-life stories around you and help him or her grasp the idea of other people lacking and needing help. Let your child know that he or she can do something to make a needy person happy.
Acknowledge their acts of generosity
Make sure to notice and recognize it whenever your child makes a generous gesture or extends help to someone. Tell your child that what he or she did is a good thing and that it makes you happy and proud as a parent.
Give this an equal weight of importance with your child’s other good deeds like doing well in school, eating his or her vegetables, or helping with the house chores. Expressing your compliments to them verbally helps etch the importance of their charitable deed in their young minds and will help shape their way of thinking when it comes to sharing and helping.
Involve them in your charity work
Kids generally love doing activities. Use this to steer them towards having a charitable spirit. Seek their help in your charitable projects such as fundraising or toy donation drives by giving them child-appropriate tasks. Ask their help based on their interests as well so you can hit two birds with one stone by teaching them to be charitable and encouraging their passion at the same time.
If your child shows interest in the kitchen, ask her to help prepare warm meals for the homeless in winter. If he or she likes telling stories, take them along to the orphanage with you. Encourage them to read a nice story to the children in the center. The key is to engage them and let them participate in charitable projects. This gives them hands-on experience and lets them see the plight of people in need and how they can do their part in helping them. Emphasize that their smallest act of kindness is worth more than any grand intention they can have.
Initiate a ‘save and share plan’
Motivate your children and teach them a methodical way of allotting a portion of their allowance to a charity fund. Also, ask for their opinion as to who they want to help and what they want to give, making them feel involved in the act instead of merely being spectators.
It is also a good way to teach them to have a sense of commitment when it comes to sharing. Let them experience a sense of fulfillment in seeing their charity fund savings grow and being used to extend help to other needy children and families.
You can even encourage them to ‘work for a cause’ to raise more money. They can undertake tasks at home like cleaning and tutoring younger siblings to earn money and save a good part of it for their charity fund. A reward system teaches them responsibility and generosity at an early age. By doing this, you take it beyond teaching them to earn for the sake of acquiring something they want for themselves.
Charity begins at home indeed. And you can help bring up future adults who not only have a positive impact on society but have a balanced perspective about the world’s realities, and therefore enjoy a better sense of well-being as a person.
In the words of Mother Teresa- “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”