10 Ways to Teach Your Children How to Give
Last month we talked about kindness. November is all about teaching our kids about the superpower of giving and here are 10 ways to teach your children how to give!
Here, at My Book Heroes, our Superheroes cannot fly, they don’t have X-Ray vision and they cannot walk through walls. They have even greater superpowers. They are loving, caring, kind, giving, everyday people, who in many cases are half the size of an adult. Raising this kind of superhero kids is so important to us, that our whole mission is built around this concept. Last month we talked about kindness. November is all about teaching our kids about the superpower of giving and these are 10 ways to teach your children how to give.
- Teach your children to love people more than things
Like it or not we live in a material world and for most of us, it can really be a struggle to obtain all the stuff we want or need to go through life. Surely our kids must learn to recognize that and be grateful for what they have. On the other hand, though, they also need to know that stuff is just….. stuff and that other people’s feelings or well being are so much more important.
- Sharing toys
Kids who don’t like sharing their toys is something that we very often see. Unless a toy has sentimental value or is of extreme importance to our kids, we should teach and encourage them to share their toys with other kids. Toys are meant for playing and playing is so much more fun when all kids get to play and be happy. You can also encourage your kids to exchange toys with their friends, lend or even give some away. This will lead to a healthy detachment from things and teach our kids to value people more than stuff.
- Giving away
We all give things away; clothes that no longer fit, toys that our kids don’t play with anymore and generally things that we no longer use. That’s perfectly fine and things should really be given to where are most needed. This though could lead our kids to a misconception as to what giving really is, forgiving is not about getting rid of your old, useless stuff. So when it’s time to declutter your home again, have a conversation with your kids. Explain what you are doing and to whom these things might be going to. Then set a box for donation and one for trash and ask your kids to help you categorize the things you no longer want to keep. This way they will learn how to give away and what to give away. You can also ask them to put some new things in the donation box, like toys, or stationary and excite them with the idea that some kid they don’t know will receive a nice present from them.
- Cultivate empathy
Empathy is the ability of a person to feel what others are feeling and it’s so important in raising our little superheroes. Not all people are born with this ability but luckily it is something that we all can learn and develop. Start by asking your kids this simple question: «How would you feel if you were X»? Encourage your kids to mention as many emotions as they can and then discuss how these emotions make them feel. Then move to the question: «How would you want to be treated if you were X»? Replace «Χ» with whatever you think appropriate; from real people to fictional characters, even with certain animals. Play this game often and you will soon see your children being more aware of how other people feel, identifying other people’s needs and becoming more kind and giving.
- Giving without giving things
A giving person is not only a person who gives away things or money. It can be anyone who gives a bit of himself for others, by helping those in need, by spending some of his time for other people, by listening, or giving advice, or just by being there for someone. Teach your children to be good friends, good family members, and good neighbors and help them to become kind and giving persons.
- Start a family tradition
Family traditions are not only perfect for creating family memories but can also be excellent teachers for our kids. If you want to teach your kids how to be giving and kind, you can start a family tradition around these qualities. You can, for example, set a family tradition to buy dinner for a disadvantaged family every Christmas, or every Easter. Or you can invite lonely people to your family’s Christmas dinner every year. Alternatively, your kids can raise money by singing Christmas carols and then donate it for a certain cause. The ideas are endless. Find one that best suits your family and start a family tradition around giving.
- Donation Jar
Keep a donation jar at home, for all the members of the family to put coins inside. When the jar is full, donate the money to charity. Make sure your kids are involved all the way through.
- New school year
Getting ready for a new school year can be really exciting for our children, especially when it’s time to buy new school supplies. Shopping for school is also a good opportunity to teach our kids how to give. Explain how some families may not afford to buy new school supplies and offer to buy a few extra items to give away. Ask your kids to choose these items and let them spend some of their savings to pay for them if they want to. Let your children feel the joy of giving and teach them that fun and abundance should be shared.
- Everyday acts of help
Ask your family members to do an act of help every day. From helping someone at school to feeding a stray animal or playing with a little brother or helping with chores, each one should do an act of help each day. And in the night, when all the family gets together, share and discuss your experiences.
- Be an example
Last but certainly not least: setting an example for your kids is extremely important. Whatever you want your kids to be, you have to be first. If you want your children to be kind, generous and giving, then ask yourself: are you that kind of person?
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