As parents, we know how egocentric our children (and humans, in general) can be at times. When holidays and birthdays roll around, do you feel all your children talk about is getting presents? Do you hear “I want this…” and “me, me, me” too often in your house? Generosity is a beautiful virtue and an important one to teach our children. Here are a number of ways to reinforce generosity with your children:
1. Shine a light on generosity.
Children don’t come out of the womb being naturally generous. It’s something that needs to be nurtured. Teach your child what the word “generous” means and point out times you, family members, people you know, people you see on television and read about in books are being generous. Make your children aware of generous acts.
2. Model generosity.
Do and say what you want your children to do and say. Modeling certain behaviors can be a valuable parenting tool. Share with your children ways you are generous toward others as children are terrific mimics.
3. Praise your child’s generosity.
When you see your children being generous, praise them and continue to encourage their generous acts.
4. Teach that generosity means to give freely, without expecting anything in return.
Try having your child call a family member just to tell him, “I love you” or give food to a local food bank.
5. Give more than just money.
Being generous means more than just giving money. You can be generous with your time. Show your children ways they can be generous with their time and actions. Encourage an older sibling to read a favorite book to a younger sibling or to take a few minutes before they have free time to help mom sweep the kitchen floor.
6. Encourage generosity when you teach your children financial responsibility.
Include giving money to charity in your child’s plans to manage and save money.
7. Talk about the purpose of charitable organizations.
There are so many charities out there. Research some worthy causes that are interesting to your children.
8. Volunteer together as a family.
Model having a generous spirit by looking for ways to volunteer as a family. Visit a nursing home, spend time in a soup kitchen or make cards for soldiers.
9. Donate your things.
Sweep through your children’s closets, drawers and toy boxes and collect things to donate to families who have less. Have a yard sale and give the money earned to a family-chosen charity.
10. Give the gift of giving.
On the next special occasion, present your child with a gift certificate stating you will make a set donation to the charity your child chooses in his name. Pick a local non-profit or national organization from a website like CharityChoice Gift Cards.
11. Host a coat, food or toy party.
Share the generous spirit. Have guests bring the desired item to the party. Children can help pack them up to give away to needy families.
What are some ways you teach your children to be generous? Share with us below!