Today, I am happy to have Jenny from MomLovesBest as a guest blogger. Jenny is just another mom trying to do her best. She loves making lists and trying to help others find what they are looking for. When she’s not using her powers to find her kids missing socks, you can find her sharing the latest parenting hacks & tips on MomLovesBest and Pinterest.
In an age of iPads, where our children can lose themselves in apps, games, and shows, teaching the importance of giving than ever. As parents, we need to disengage our kids from electronics and engage them in the wider world. And here’s the hard truth: the world isn’t fair; some people have more than they need and other people have less. This truth is best learned early through a variety of teachable moments and activities. Here are four of my favorite ways to teach your children the importance of generosity.
Using food can be a light way to introduce very young children to generosity lessons. The ideas of kindness and fairness play a significant role in understanding the concept of giving. Begin by taking a cookie and cutting it in vastly unequal pieces. Take the larger piece for yourself and model the importance of generosity by giving it to someone. This can be an excellent opportunity to explain how not everyone has equal cookie pieces and those that have more can help others through acts of generosity.
Get Creative With It
Visual cues are a fundamental aspect of learning, especially for young children. Work with your kids to create an art project revolving around a person that is important to them, and they would like to help. It could be another kid at school, granny, or even their sibling. Once they have completed their masterpiece, frame it on the dresser, hang it on a wall, or anywhere that your child will see every day. The important thing is that they will be reminded daily of that person and why they wanted to help them.
For children, seeing characters engaging in generous actions in books exists as an excellent model to internalize and then apply in their own lives. Many stories portray characters learning the lessons of sharing as well as the benefits of such actions. Here are several of my favorite classic and new books to introduce kids to giving:
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
- I am Sharing by Mercer Mayer
- The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan Berenstain
- Should I Share My Ice Cream? By Mo Williams
- Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney
Remember: it’s not just enough to read the story, you should ask your child thoughtful questions such as “How is this character being generous?” or “How does sharing make this character feel?” are good starting points for having children think about generosity and its benefits.
Perhaps the best way to cultivate a giving spirit in children requires volunteerism. If children can see a need for sharing and fulfill that need, they better understand the role of generosity. While donating money is certainly one way to be generous, donating items, time, and talent are all ways to teach the power of giving. Begin small and ask your child to select toys and clothes to donate to a local organization working with populations in need. It could even be a one-time event such as giving to a family who lost everything in a fire. Remember: it’s important to model generosity so as you ask your child to donate items, you should donate items too. Here are some great ideas for organizing charity campaigns for your family:
- Collect and donate used towels and blankets to a local animal shelter
- Purchase items such as diapers and baby bottles from the “share” bank for a local baby pantry
- Donate gently used clothes and toys to a shelter
- Assist elderly neighbors by shoveling snow for free
- Create cards and deliver them to a local nursing home