Tips for raising charitable children

Filed under: Activities: Babies, Places To Go, Development/Milestones: Babies, In The News, Toys

Do you give? When are were you taught to do so as a child? Do your children? But, how exactly do we create a culture of giving in the home?

It doesn't start the way I think about it--that scene from Mommy Dearest where Mommy makes Christina give all her presents from her birthday to the needy children, except for one. After a struggle she is allowed to keep two presents, but not without building in resentment. So how does one do it, the right way?

Well, the tips provided by MSN Lifestyle's Home Sweet Home are a good start. Kid getting a new toy? How about encouraging him or her to part with an older one (still in good condition, only gently loved or used). Do the same with clothes. Also mentioned is to demonstrate giving by buying a few extra canned goods for a food drive when doing the regular grocery shopping. Giving, like anything else, it says, is a habit--something that is formed over time with repetition.

Another suggestion is to take cash--from presents or allowance--and split it into savings, charity and personal spending money. Now there's a way to teach kids about money! If only my parents had employed that. I did have a piggy bank, but this is totally different. They did always give to charity and to our church though. An addendum to that tip is to match the gift that your child makes. Now that would be something!

Yet another good suggestion is to allow your child make the choice of whom to give a special gift around the holidays. Angel trees and other programs used to help children in need around the holidays can add something extra to your child's holiday spirit and understanding of giving when he or she gets to help another child.

The idea is that if you plant the seeds of giving now, your children will grow to understand what giving is all about, appreciate what they have, and take care to share with others who are less fortunate than they are. It's the ultimate form of sharing, in a way, and makes good sense to teach our children.

Mommy Dearest's approach? Not sure it instilled much but anger and hostility in her daughter, even though perhaps her mother was trying to do the right thing.

What say you to these tips? Worth it, or trying too hard? Are there other, better ways to teach our children about the art and joy of giving?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.