Children of any age can learn compassion for others. They can also learn how to donate time and whatever resources they have at certain ages to help people in need. From toddlerhood to their teenage years, you can teach your children and help them develop a giving attitude to help improve their communities and the lives of others.

Volunteering

Take your child when you volunteer at a local charity or health agency. Select one that your children can relate to, like a charity for children in need. Everyone prefers to give to a cause that they feel connected to, and kids are no exception. They may have school classmates or neighbor children who have been affected by illness or poverty, and volunteering to deliver meals or stuff envelopes can instill empathy in them for the affected children and their families.

Donations

If your kids receive an allowance, earn money for odd jobs, or receive cash gifts for special holidays or birthdays, encourage them to give a small part of it to a worthwhile cause. Although a young child may feel the sacrifice of giving up part of their money more than an adult would, generosity is a valuable character trait to teach them, starting from a young age. If you don’t want to mail the cash in an envelope to the charity, consider taking your child to the nonprofit office so they can personally hand over their donation and receive thanks from the employee.

Of course, don’t force them to give their money away. This could create feelings of resentment. However, if you encourage them and set an example, they want to donate. Let them choose the foundation they want to give to. If they’re not sure, you may give them suggestions like a child cancer donation charity or another charity.

Fundraising

Help your children organize or participate in a community fundraiser. It might involve collecting aluminum cans, old newspapers, or other recyclable materials that can be exchanged for cash to donate. Even a family’s personal fundraiser to help with medical expenses for an ill family member can teach children how to find ways of earning cash that will be dedicated to helping someone who needs it. Some schools and churches sponsor these kinds of programs, and that may be a good way to introduce your child to this principle.

Public Awareness

Older children who use social media under parental supervision may be guided to promote an important local cause to make site viewers aware. Spaghetti fundraisers, food collections, and helping elderly neighbors with yardwork are some of the ways preteens and teens can not only help those who need it but also inform others who may be interested in helping as well.

When children learn to care about others, they will often grow up to become thoughtful, considerate, and compassionate adults who continue helping those in need. Start teaching your children the value of making a difference while they are young.

By Anita Ginsburg

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn't writing.

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