Generosity: the habit of giving without expecting anything in return. This is an attribute that we hope that our children learn from us or the people surrounding them. This may not come as naturally as we hoped to a young child. Many times, as parents (and other influences), we will need to take the reigns to teach children about these qualities. Generosity usually begins with children sharing their possessions with other peers. Not only can you learn this important quality from home, but you can also incorporate it at school. We have 7 great ways to show your children what generosity is!
Show your Child Volunteerism
Not only will volunteering expose your children to helping others, they can actually interact with other individuals who are doing the same. At first, you can take them with you as you volunteer. They will love doing something that Mom or Dad finds important! One example volunteering with your child is Meals on Wheels. Make or pick up the meals from your church or other organization and deliver them to those in need. The individuals will have a smile on their face seeing your little one and he/she will love to be the center of attention on the trip!
If you are involved with your child’s school, make the teachers and counselors aware that you are introducing this concept at home and ask if they can incorporate it within school as well. Many times, they have already planned a way to introduce service learning to their students. It is never too early!
Set An Example of Selflessness
Kids look up to their parents. Children are very aware of what you are doing and feeling. Put this to good use and be a wonderful example of selflessness. Practice this everywhere you can so that they can be a part of it. Open and hold doors for people. Let someone else go before you in a grocery store line just because it is a nice gesture. Act kind in front of your children and in turn, they will be kind to others. It is a amazing what a good message these gestures will send to them.
Teach The Value of Money
Yes, kids see you passing these green pieces of paper around, but do they really know what they are for? Do they understand the meaning behind them? It may be a simple concept to an adult, but children need an explanation to this system. One important way of teaching older kids the value of money is by giving them an allowance. You can make a weekly schedules of chores that they are responsible for around the house and reward them. This does not have to be a monetary exchange either. You can reward their hard work with a trip to the movies, a dinner out, or a fun activity!
Educate Using Children’s Books
Books are a universal way of teaching. There are so many wonderful books that focus on the trait of generosity. It is never too early to read books to your kids! Not only will the children enjoy the book but they will learn an important concept. You are really able to customize the lesson for any age. If they are young enough, you can read to them and ask them questions about what they learned. If they are older, they can read the book to you and, in their own words, they can describe what they learned.
Here are some great books to introduce the idea of generosity.
This tale looks at the lives of two children and their willingness to help a homeless woman who lives close to a deli near their home. When the deli decides to try to uproot the woman from the heated grate that she has made her home, they come to her defense in a touching story of compassion and generosity.
This beautiful story tells of the gift of giving. A rich king asks a seamstress to make him one of her beautiful quilts. The seamstress will only agree if he gives away all of his possessions. The king tries to fight for what he wants, but in the end decides to give away his possessions one by one. It is a tale of giving away material things in order to gain what you truly want – happiness.
A boy is presented with several envelopes of money for Chinese New Year. He decides that it would be best spent in Chinatown. Unfortunately, he realizes that he does not have enough money for what he wants to buy. He ends up disappointed but then stumbles across a homeless man in the street. He ends up spending the money on something that gives him much more happiness and pride.
Pay it Forward to Others
This is a great concept to introduce your children. When someone does something nice for you, pay it forward to someone else. There is no recognition for what your child has done, only their own gratification for helping another person. This may be a little harder to reinforce in the beginning until they have realized the impact that they have made. It doesn’t have to be something big, just a little act of kindness that makes someone smile!
Help Children Understand The Value of Thank You
Two simple words and yet they hold an immense meaning. They hold an even greater meaning to the people they are said to. Make sure you teach your children the appropriate times to say thank you. Also, be a good example to them and say thank you when you feel it is appropriate. Begin to write thank you notes at an early age. Even if your child can not write themselves, have them participate by reciting what they would like you to write and then signing their name to the bottom.
Donate to your local charity
Take this incredible learning opportunity to also help others! You can choose several times of year to make donations of toys and clothes to a local store, an organization, or to a specific family in need. Have your kids choose several different toys to donate and take them to the actual place to see where they are donating. That way they can actually see the good that they are doing.
You can also help at school as well! Teachers usually have a list of things for your child to bring with them the first day of school. Do even better by buying a couple extra things to donate to a student who can not afford to bring everything on that list. Have your child give these donated items directly to the teacher so that they can feel what it is like to help!
These are just a few things that can help to educate your children about generosity. It is not only rewarding for your children – it can open up your eyes to new ways to help others. It will make you feel so proud to see your own kids helping others and feeling great about doing it!
Definition of generosity by Wikipedia
Title photo adapted from Ben Grey (CC by 2.0)
Volunteering photo adapted from U.S. Department of Engineer’s photostream (CC by 2.0)
Child with Money photo adapted from MIKI Yoshihito (CC by 2.0)
Pay it Forward photo by Kirsten H.
Donation photo by The Whimsical Photographer