Five Tips for Raising Children that are Grateful and Giving
Despite what mass media wants kids to believe, it is not all about them. It can be challenging to raise a child that is both grateful and generous with the conflicting messages playing before them. Here are some tips to help raise children who are grateful for what they have and enjoy giving to others.
- Practice what you preach
If you want your child to be grateful and giving, emulate this in your own actions. Let them see you giving back. Volunteer at your child’s school, at church, the local food bank or soup kitchen. If you pray, let them hear you thank God for your blessings. Support those in need. This is the perfect time of year to give to those less fortunate.
- Don’t use guilt to get them to give
Instead of guilting them into giving to others, help them see how giving will make others happy. Go through your closets and find things that are not being used and donate them. It can be difficult for a child to let go of their prized toys, even the ones that haven’t been used in over a year. Help them understand that since they are such a big boy (or girl), the toy that made them so happy in the past can make another little boy or girl very happy too.
- Help them make a difference
Everyone, no matter how small they are, can make a difference. Teach them this young and show them ways they can make an impact. Find out what they are passionate about and encourage them to find ways to help. For example, if your child is passionate about animals, show them how they can support them. Perhaps they can set up a lemonade stand and donate the money raised to the ASPCA or another foundation they are interested in.
- Let them choose how to give
In order to have the greatest impact, the giving should come from the child. Let them choose what they would like to give and support their decision. Shop for the item with your child and let them deliver the gift. The personal involvement in the selection and giving process will remain with them far longer than if you were to shop on their behalf and turn it in for them.
- Expand their view beyond the home
Many children do not realize all they have because of the protected bubble in which they live. Expand their viewpoint by opening their eyes to the needs of others. The holidays have many opportunities to give such as Toys for Tots or Be an Elf, an organization that collects “Dear Santa” letters from low-income children in the US. There are many other opportunities to give throughout the year. Check out Volunteer Match with your child and see what interests them. Remember, by supporting their interests, they become more engaged and invested in the giving process.
It is never too early to start teaching your child gratitude and generosity. Your kids are watching you. Be the change you want to see in them. By showing them how and why, you will help them develop their giving and gratitude muscles.