Teaching your children how to "pay it forward" can change their lives and the lives of others in unimaginable ways. Making an effort to cultivate a charitable spirit in your child is a worthwhile task and speaks volumes about your parenting skills. By giving back, your child will see the interconnectedness of all things and recognize the importance of empathy. They will also place a renewed appreciation on the quality of life that has been provided for them.
Alyson Schafer, a renowned psychotherapist and one of CanadaÂ´s leading parenting experts, echoed this sentiment in a recent posting on her blog at Alyson.ca/money.
"Last year I asked my daughter to give something to the families in Darfur as her gift to me," Schafer wrote in the post. "That meant she had to do some research and she was really moved by what she learned. It was a gift to us both really. She was really proud to have sent her own money to their aid."
If you're searching for ways to get your children involved with charitable giving, here are 6 tips to get you started.
Things You Will Need
Clothes to donate
Food to donate
Ask your child to sort out the clothes they have grown out of or no longer wear. Make sure the clothes are clean and then visit a local Salvation Army or Good Will to donate the clothes. The key here is to not sort the clothes and bring them to the store yourself, but to let your child lead the effort. This builds self-confidence as well as a charitable spirit.
Does a relative have cancer or Alzheimer's Disease? Participating in a "walk for a cure" type of event with your child can be a bonding and heartfelt experience. Not only can your children show their support for a family member, but they can also do their part to fight a problem that may be affecting people on a worldwide basis.
Buy dog or cat food with your child and donate it to the local animal shelter. You can ask your child to donate part of his or her allowance to pay for the food. Make sure your child is on hand to donate the food at the animal shelter. Feeding hungry animals is a form of charitable giving that your child will be able to directly experience and enjoy.
Visit a local senior center and have your child speak to some of the residents or enjoy a board game with them. This simple gesture goes a long way with seniors and it takes very little time to stop by and say hello.
Build gift baskets for the needy or for soldiers overseas. Allowing your child to participate in the building of the baskets will show them that every little bit counts. Also try to let them choose and arrange the items.
Teach your child to donate spare change to charity jars in general stores and other places. Show them how every penny adds up and how every altruistic effort, no matter how small, can better the lives of others.
Christmas time is an excellent opportunity to teach your children the priceless value of charitable giving. This is especially true if your kids tend to focus a little too much on the receiving - such as the types of toys, presents and objects they desire - rather than the giving. However, this is not their fault and you shouldn't reprimand them for what is largely a cultural phenomenon. Instead, you can directly show them the power of giving back and let them experience the warmth and positive feelings that no objects can replicate. Teaching your children how to "pay it forward" can change their lives and the lives of others in unimaginable ways. Making an effort to cultivate a charitable spirit in your child is a worthwhile task and speaks volumes about your parenting skills. By giving back, your child will see the interconnectedness of all things and recognize the importance of empathy. They will also place a renewed appreciation on the quality of life that has been provided for them.