How do I get my kids interested in charity and giving?
As a working mother with little time to spend donating my time to different non-profit or charity organizations, the kids don’t always see what their father and I are doing by supporting causes close to our heart financially. The past couple years we decided to make a concerted effort to not only give monetarily but give our time and involve the kids. Below are examples we do as a family now.
During our holiday shopping we set aside a few days to ONLY shop for other children. Our local church donates toys to children whose parents can’t afford presents. I give each of our kids $100 to spend purchasing gifts they would like themselves. At first my son had a really hard time and tried to negotiate with me a “one for him, one for them”.
This past Christmas was very different. He carefully picked out toys for a boy who would be his age and it didn’t seem to bother him that he was not going to be getting to shop for himself. I stand firmly that during these trips no one gets to purchase anything for themselves, parents included.
We choose one holiday each year to go serve food at the local homeless shelter. My daughter, as a typical teenager, did not want to wake up early on Easter morning to go and help prepare food for others. When she got there and took part in feeding the homeless she immediately asked if we could do it again next year. I was so proud of her.
We live next door to an elderly couple that have a hard time getting around. Each week I have my kids go over and ask if we can help them with their grocery list, take them to the store and let them fill a cart with the neighbors list. I have seen my kids find a lot of joy in helping the neighbors now. They do so without any complaints and have developed a very friendly relationship with the elderly couple. I have always believed as a society it is very important for us to take care of the elderly and I hope to pass this onto my children.
Birthdays have also become a time of charitable giving. My kids are spoiled. There, I said it. Each holiday whether it is Valentine’ day or even Halloween they get a plethora of cards in the mail filled with gift cards to their favorite stores or cold hard cash. We have a big family, which they love, but the amount they get on a yearly basis from grandparents to aunts and uncles is far from the norm. The rule is they must save half of it, can spend 25% of it and donate the other 25% to a charity of their choice.
Over the past couple years they have spent quite a bit of time online researching charities they want to donate to. One year it was the local animal shelter and this year my son donated to a non-profit that builds water wells in places where clean water isn’t available. My daughter chose a charity who sends relief to countries who have had natural disasters. This year her money went to Puerto Rico.Giving blood through the United Blood Services is something my husband and I have always done at least twice a year.
Recently I started donating platelets through the Red Cross. While my son is still too young and doesn’t reach the weight requirement my daughter started asking if she could do it as well. We have started doing this as a family at least 4 times a year now. Afterwards everyone gets an ice cream treat. It has become somewhat of a fun family tradition. My son can’t wait until he can join in the fun.The kids have birthday parties to attend for friends on a monthly basis. Sometimes three a month! Gifts can be expensive and you can’t go empty handed. There are so many companies who make products “with a purpose”. I encourage the kids to give gifts that have a charitable aspect. This is one of the reasons we love Kauzbots so much. Each one has a different non-profit they support and my kids really seem to understand these “robots” with a heart.
Since we have made these changes over the past few years I have seen a significant difference in my kids, their spending, their outlook on the poor and needy. I hope and pray they take some of these life lessons into adulthood and possibly make some of these traditions for their children one day.
Hope these tips are helpful!