Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders so it’s in all our interests to teach them values that may help make the world a better place.
Charity sits at the frontline of such positive efforts but it’s not always a simple or easy concept to explain to our little ones.
However, it’s worth persevering with – research shows chatting to your kids about charity is more effective than role-modelling.
The young are a powerful philanthropic force throughout the world. 90% of Americans aged between eight and 19 gave money to charitable organisations, a United Nations study carried out a few years ago revealed. It highlighted the vital role us parents play in encouraging our children to embrace charity.
Talking to kids about charity is equally effective regardless of a parent’s income level or the child’s gender, race and age, the same research found.
It’s widely accepted the young tend to be a force for change and are often hungry to engage with the world around them so let’s help them channel this energy into building a bright future.
The difficulty, certainly with really little ones, is that despite often having a clear sense of good and bad, right and wrong, they tend to operate from a centre of self, so we as parents must find ways of making them more aware of why and how their actions can affect others.
Here’s part one of our tips for talking to your children about charity:
- Break it down
If you explain ‘charity’ and what it represents down into its essential parts – helping people, being kind, being generous – it becomes much easier to grasp. Make it clear charity is linked to all things your little ones consider ‘good’, they are likely respond to this. But offer them examples they can relate to, for example: “When we raise money for this charity, the money will buy medicine which poorly children need to help them get well again” rather than “we give money to charity because it is the right thing to do.”
- Keep conversations about charity going
Encourage your kids to carry out a daily act of kindness that they can tell you about or ask them how they could help someone each day. Create a kindness inspiration board or scrapbook at home with ideas of how they can give to charity. Record and reward kind acts. Your children can then see their progress and it might even encourage them to do more. Ask questions that will get them thinking about charity and kindness such as: “What can you give someone that doesn’t cost any money?”.
- Make charity fun
While it’s important to communicate the more serious reasons for charity – that there are many people in the world who need help and protection – keep it fun as your children will quickly lose interest.
If your kids associate charitable giving and fundraising with fun times they are more likely to keep doing it for life. That’s where initiatives like CharityPodz are important as the children get the joy of a new toy while giving to charity.
There are all sorts of ways to make charity fun with fundraising activities such as cake baking, fancy dress, treasure hunts and more. When doing a clear out at home, get your kids involved and make it a game to save as much as they can among the cleared items that could be donated to a charity shop.