The Importance of Teaching Children to Give

What happens on the off-chance that your child isn’t interested in giving away their money or volunteering their time? If you have modeled your own beliefs about charity, this should not be a problem. But teaching children to give is important, so if they are not showing interest it’s time for two things. First, have a serious conversation explaining why you believe giving is so important is certainly in order. Perhaps it’s a problem of disconnection. If so, there is no shame in following that conversation with a site visit to a charity you are involved in to help your child visualize the populations who need their help. Second, your child’s lack of interest might be a matter of him not having found a cause he is attached to, help him explore his options.

If he is so unwilling that you really must force them to be a part of something, then go ahead and do it with the hope that the behavior becomes habitual—but remember, the goal here is not for your child to spend some time volunteering and donate 10 percent of their allowance just through high school; the goal is for him to be motivated charitable contributors for the rest of his life.

As your child gets older, the ways they participate in service will become much deeper and more complex. Perhaps they will take part in service trips or lead their own charity drives. Setting up charity and establishing the importance of giving as a natural part of his life starts with your example and the small ways they gain exposure—even if it’s donating their sixty cents every week to the local animal shelter. Some parents hold a family meeting with all their children and discuss as a group how much and for whom the family will give each year, and allow each family member to vote. If you are still skeptical about taking the first, or next step in the teaching process, both PBS and provide very in-depth guides on different approaches one might take.

How do you motivate your children to be charitable?

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