How To Teach Your Children To Give

I have these two sweet small people.  But you know that, right? And you also know I have charged myself with the responsibility of teaching them how to be good ‘givers’. I’ve always considered it important, but as I watch them grow, it is taking on a new meaning.  As little-bitty ones, they would help me to shop for adopted families during the holidays, but now I want that ‘Give Good, Get Good’ mentality to exist all year long.

As we look to the East, knowing we can help after the tragedy of Hurricane Sandy, and as we prepare to head in to the holiday season, now is a good time to think about the best ways to teach your small people how to give.  And how you can work together as a family to make the world a better place.

I spent some time on KMOV’s Great Day St. Louis this morning talking about this very thing:

Here are my 5 favorite tips to Give Good, Get Good as a family.

The Perfect Rule of Three: When your children receive money or an allowance, teach them to spend some, save some and give some. They need to understand the process of giving – that money doesn’t just magically appear for you, for them, or for the people you are trying to help.

A Family Charity: There are so many places to give. Choose a family charity that you dedicate time and energy to so kids can understand ‘who’ is getting their help  - a local hospital, a food bank, the American Heart Association.  Set up a ‘fund’ for a portion of the month and donate at a designated time. As a family, we have made Child Hunger Ends Here, a partner with Con Agra Foods, our priority.  I wanted my small people to understand that food is a luxury – one that many children don’t have .  In fact there are 16 million kids right here in the U.S. who are hungry.  When we donate money and food – we think of them first.

Take it to the Grocery Store- make use of the ‘Buy 2, get one free’ or $1 items and purchase more than you need. Set that ‘one’ aside to donate at Thanksgiving or the Holidays.  You can drop them off at your local food bank, church or collection center.

Head to the Kitchen Find a local church/soup kitchen in need of a particular food item that requires baking – think apple or pumpkin pies.  Whip out your grandmother’s favorite recipe, spend time together baking them as a family.  Then you can deliver them around the holidays as needed.

Volunteer Together: As a family, make it a priority to volunteer at your local food bank or soup kitchen. Or take the time to spend an hour ringing the bell outside in the cold for the Salvation Army. There’s nothing like being at the place that really lends a hand in feeding the hungry or asking for donations to make your children realize that this is actually going on in your community. In the Spring and Summer months, we have been known to do Lemonade Stands for Child Hunger.  Though not huge money makers, they actively involve the kids and help to teach them the ‘why’ of what we are doing – and that matters to me.

What do you do with your children and as a family?  I’m always looking to add to the list of options we have.  Suggest away!