8 Ways to Teach Your Children to Be Charitable

At a time when it may seem like all you hear is the word “want,” how do turn the consumerism into charity by giving back at the holidays and throughout the year? Every family chooses to give in a different way and at times that are right for them. If you’re looking to start a holiday tradition focused on giving, these bloggers have some sage advice about conversations to have with your kids about getting involved.

Start when they’re young. Jennifer Quillen (aka The Rebel Chick) started charitable giving practices when her daughter was a toddler and participate in the church Angel Tree program, Toys for Tots, and Operation Christmas Child. Quillen says her daughter “has grown up knowing that giving back is just a part of the holiday season and she LOVES it!”

Do it together. Creating Motherhood’s Dresden Shumaker works with her son to go through his toys and clothes to decide which ones are ready to be shared with a new family. “He comes with me when we take the donation to Goodwill. It is a cycle for him that he knows as just two years ago we were holiday shopping at this same Goodwill.”

Choose a cause that moves you. Living in the area affected by Hurricane Sandy, Melissa Chapman of Staten Island Family started It Takes a Family. “The reason I started ItTakesaFamily.net was specifically to show my kids how important it is to help others. We’ve been able to raise over $10,000 for families affected by hurricane Sandy on Staten Island and in doing so I truly hope my kids are gleaning the importance of charity and learning that none of us are an island- we are all in this together.” If you aren’t quite sure where to give, Amy Mascott of TeachMama has put together a list of resources as part of her #blog4cause initiative.

Give the gift of time. Not all are in a position to provide cash or goods and for children who want to help, you can instill the spirit of volunteerism. Jill Berry’s (Musings from Me) 9th grade daughter has to complete service hours for her school by volunteering at swim meets, helping at Sunday School, packing Thanksgiving baskets for families at church, and through serving meals at a soup kitchen.

Help a family with the same age kids as yours. Amy Kronstedt of Grinning Cheek to Cheek and her family decided to participate in Operation Christmas Child this year and let her son choose a toy for a boy his age.

Let them use their own money. The school that Andrea Katz’ children attend adopts angel kids for the holidays and her children enjoy using their own money to purchase items. “They love giving to charity,” Katz exclaims.

Teach children to shop consciously when giving gifts to others. Products from Maiden NationMacy’s Heart of Haiti, or Rwanda Path to Peace impact the artisans who create the goods that are sold because a part of the money generated from each sale goes directly back to them. For example, Maiden Nation’s Chan Luu’s Glamour Kiss Kiss Bracelet features handmade paper beads created by women that are part of the Hands Together Cooperative who live at the J/P Haitian Relief Organization in Petionville, Haiti. $6 from the sale of each $25 bracelet goes directly to the women at Hands Together, making this an impactful gift since $5 is considered a good day’s wage in Haiti.

Continue the spirit of giving throughout the year by paying it forward. Mascott uses Spend, Safe, Give jars in her house so her three children are learning to budget and be charitable at the same time. Mascott says her children understand “how good it feels to dump their ‘give’ money into a bag and hand it to the Salvation Army volunteer at holiday time, put it in the donation box at church, or bring it to our relay team at Relay for Life.”

Beggar or needy person with cupped hands together in hope for a charitable assistance via Shutterstock



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  1. [...] 8 ways to teach your children to be charitable. (Parents.com) [...]

  2. by MaidenNation

    On December 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you for the lovely mention Leticia!

  3. by Marjoriet matute

    On December 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I am just a mom trying my best to raise our sons. I am a cancer survivor and have incredibly spoiled children. Since our first baby shower we have organized toy drives to teach our boys to GIVE BACK. Fast forward to today and now I have created an organization teaching them the values of GIVING BACK all year and to lots of different people! Love this a article!!!