GiftStarter is the only crowdfunding platform online with a focus on the giving experience. That’s because we’re about so much more than collecting funds: we’re about helping Givers use the act of giving to inspire and encourage their communities.
Many of our Givers with young children are interested in learning how to instill their passion for giving in their kids as well. We get it! With several members of the GiftStarter team being both passionate Givers and parents themselves, we’re always on the lookout for clever ways to teach our kids about being generous, and why it matters.
So, what can you do to help create Givers out of your kids?
5 Tips for Teaching Your Child Generosity
1. Model generosity, and maintain an open dialogue
Kids may not always do what you tell them to do—but they will always do what you do. That’s why modeling generosity, and talking about generosity with your kids, is so important.
Speak openly with your children about the ways in which you’re helping people in your family or community, and the pride that helping others makes you feel. If you notice your child helping their younger sibling learn to tie their shoes, praise them for their kindness and helpfulness, and ask them, “How did helping your little brother make you feel?” Give them words to use to describe their feelings like “proud” or “happy,” and reinforce that helping others is a great way to bring some light into their own lives.
More importantly, let them see you being generous as well. Be mindful of how you speak to the people who help you every day (the post officer, the cashier, the nurse) and have your kids help you come up with ideas for how to pay it forward. Can the kids help you come up with a great gift idea for their teacher? Can you work together to spend a Saturday mowing and tidying the grandparents’ lawn, just because?
Keep the kids involved in your giving activities, and keep the conversation flowing. This will help ensure that generosity maintains a spotlight value in your home.
2. Spend family time volunteering
Put a few weekend playdates on the back burner, and consider spending quality time volunteering together as a family on those weekends instead. Volunteering as a family not only offers parents and caregivers an opportunity to model generosity, it’s also proven to help teach children empathy.
The best part is that there are always volunteer opportunities available for almost any age. Younger children would do well at a beach, river, or lake clean-up event, while older children and teenagers could gain valuable skills spending time looking after animals in animal shelters.
Need help finding the perfect volunteering opportunity? Check out this website.
3. Donate together
As children get older, most parents and caregivers are going to start teaching their kids about financial responsibility. This is also the perfect time to model generosity by letting your kids listen in as you choose your charitable donations.
It’s a great idea to incorporate that open dialogue here: make charitable donating a family discussion. Let the kids help you do the math to determine how much you can afford to donate, and discuss which charitable organizations line up with your family values.
Also, as kids get older and start managing their allowance, don’t force them to donate their money just because you do. Chances are, they’ll choose to donate to charities (or to friends in need) on their own accord because it’s simply part of the family dynamic. Thus, a cheerful giver is born!
4. Pack two cookies in their lunch
A small, campy idea, but a powerful one: especially for younger children, a good idea to get them thinking about generosity and giving is to pack two cookies in their lunch, and tell them that one of those cookies is for whatever friend they might choose to give it to. This is also an incredible way to establish trust in your children: you’re expressing that you know they’re capable of generosity, even when you aren’t looking.
5. Create GiftStarter campaigns together
GiftStarter is a fantastic resource for getting the family involved in acts of kindness and generosity. Kids can easily use GiftStarter to create campaigns for teachers, coaches, and friends. They can also help you create campaigns for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, and more. Work together with them to find the perfect gift, and help them rally their friends to create an amazingly generous giving experience just for someone special in their lives.
Even better, one you have a campaign created, you can encourage kids to use their allowance money to pitch in! Kids love our interactive, visual platform. Just have them hand the funds over to you, and let them click the “pitch in” button and sign the group card with their own special message.