At CanadaHelps, we believe it’s never too early to get children interested and involved in giving back and learning about the importance of giving. Children are capable of tremendous compassion, and with a little help and direction, kids can begin to make a big impact in their communities. From donating or fundraising, to family volunteering, there are so many easy ways to get your kids interested in giving.
Here are five easy ideas to get started:
1. Start a donation jar
When your child receives an allowance or gift money, encourage them to share a portion of the funds by setting aside a ‘Donations’ jar. Each time the jar fills up, give your youngster the opportunity to pick a charity they would like to support. If you’re able, consider matching your child’s donation to make the occasion a family event and encourage generosity.
Together, you can research different causes to find a charity (or charities) your child feels passionate about. Does your daughter love elephants? Donate to an elephant sanctuary. Does your son want to help other kids? Sponsor a child in another country or buy sports equipment for an organization in your community.
2. Create a giving and compassionate environment in your home
Make an effort to point out when someone does something charitable or kind. For instance, compliment your child if they help a friend, or acknowledge someone when they do something kind like helping an elderly person carry their groceries. In your own home, suggest your child donate toys, books, or clothes to a local organization once they have outgrown them. Allow your children to choose which items to donate and where their donations will go – you may even suggest charities based on the causes they are interested in.
By empowering your child to make their own choices about what to give and where to give it, your child will become an active participant in giving back, and will likely feel better about giving up some of their own comforts in order to make a difference in the lives of others.
3. Visit a charity
When you donate clothes to a shelter, non-perishable groceries to a food bank, or toys to an animal shelter, bring your youngsters along with you. It is important to show your little ones where their clothes, toys, or money are going, and how they are making an impact in another person’s life. Help your child understand the importance of charities and their important role in our communities. More importantly, use the opportunity to teach them how awesome it feels when you give.
4. Be an example
Get your kids interested in charitable giving by taking the time to explain how you have donated your time, money, or belongings, and how you will continue to make an effort to do so. Kids will pick up on your excitement and will want to get involved. Tell them about the causes you have helped in the past and what your family can do to help the charities you love.
Talk about volunteering, why it is important, and then lead by example. Volunteering as a family is a great way to contribute to your community while spending time together and creating a new tradition.
5. Have a charitable birthday
There are countless ways to turn a birthday party into a fun-filled giving event:
- Using a CanadaHelps Fundraising Page, your child can ask party guests to support their favourite charitable cause in lieu of gifts. It’s as easy as including the page URL in your invitations.
- Encourage guests to give Charity Gift Cards instead of physical gifts, allowing your child to choose which causes to support with each gift.
- Or, ask guests to bring gifts intended for donation, such as a new toy or book that can be given to your local children’s hospital.
Not only will these options allow your child to receive the gift of giving, each of these options has the added benefit of spreading the giving spirit to all of your party guests!
Teaching your children about charitable giving and getting them interested when they are young may not be an easy feat, but it will certainly be well worth it. There are many options for you to involve your little ones in charitable giving that are not only fun, but also educational when it comes to teaching your children about the importance giving.