Teaching Kids About Giving Back
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your children as they get older is the importance of giving back. When it comes to generosity and giving back, there are numerous ways to do so and they can range from small acts of kindness to donating your own time and resources. Not sure where to begin teaching children about giving? Read on to discover how to teach your children about the importance of giving back and ways in which you can do so.
What It Means To Give Back
The first step when it comes to teaching children about giving is to understand what it means to give back yourself, and then passing that knowledge along to the children in your life.
Many define giving back as devoting your time and efforts to those who are less fortunate than you, and doing without being obligated or mandated to do so, simply at your own desire and will. Another important factor in giving back is recognizing that while money does help many communities, it is not everything. In fact, you do not need to have a lot to give a lot. Giving back is so much more than financial aid, it is about finding different ways to best support a community or organization of your choosing.
Core Values of Giving Back
When considering the core values of giving back, the following three principles play a key role:
- Empathy – Sharing and understanding the feelings of others
- Generosity – Showing kindness and giving abundantly to others
- Recognition – Acknowledging the existence and experiences of those who are different from you
Each of these three core values come together to describe and make sense of the importance of giving back. With that in mind, discussing these three core values with your young child is a great way to initiate their understanding of what it means to do some good for others.
Ways to Give Back
Once your child has an understanding of what it means to give back, you can begin to explain the different ways to do so. Here are a few of the most common ways to get involved in your local communities and organizations:
When it comes to giving back, volunteering is typically one of the first things that comes to mind – and for good reason. Offering help without compensation has uplifted communities for centuries and is undeniably one of the best ways to get involved through sharing your time and skillset. Whether it’s at a homeless shelter or charitable organization, giving back to the community is an important lesson and gratitude practice for kids.
Volunteer opportunities look different depending on where you decide to donate your time, however, once you have an idea of where your child would like to volunteer, you can get into contact with the organization and see how and when to get started. There are also plenty of options to volunteer from home, if you choose to play it safe during COVID-19.
Aside from donating your time, there are numerous other items that you and your child can donate to your community. From old toys to an extra Christmas or birthday gift, donating items you no longer use, or simply have too much of, is a great way to clear up clutter in your home while giving to those who need it most.
Small Acts of Kindness
While volunteering and donating can be a bit more time consuming and require you to have items to give, small acts of kindness can be done by anyone of any age. With that said, there are endless options, but here are a few of our favorite ways to give back through small acts of kindness:
- Lend a helping hand when you see someone in need
- Hold the door for a stranger
- Share a smile
- Give leftover food to someone who needs it
- Leave unused coupons on the shelves at stores
No matter how you choose to help others through a small act of kindness, know that each little bit counts and can undeniably brighten someone’s day beyond measure.
Be a Role Model
Most importantly, be a role model for your children when it comes to giving back. The best way that your children learn about giving back is through seeing it first hand. While explaining the importance is essential, being a role model and showing them different ways on how to help others is equally as important. In fact, in doing so your children will be able to see the implications and the smile that giving back puts on people’s faces.
So the next time you decide to pay for the meal for the person behind you, or the next time you go out of your way to hold the door open for someone, know that your little one is watching and learning lessons of giving back in each and every effort you make.
Help Children In Need
If you and your child are looking for a way to get involved and benefit the lives of children from vulnerable communities, Children’s Bureau offers a wide range of digital giving opportunities for individuals of all ages. In the spirit of giving back, Children’s Bureau goes far beyond the baseline of what it means to give back by providing a variety of ways to get involved and numerous means of support for vulnerable communities.
No matter how you choose to teach your children about giving back, you can guarantee that the benefits of volunteering and the lessons that they learn when they are young will stick with them throughout their lives. Giving back means to go beyond oneself and support others who are less fortunate, and there is no better time to teach this invaluable lesson to your children other than now – a lifetime of generosity and life-changing moments await.
Susan J. Wood, Director of Mental Health
Susan J. Wood, LMFT is the Director of Mental Health at Children’s Bureau and has over 20 years of experience working with children in a community mental health setting. She joined Children’s Bureau in 2015 as a Program Manager in the Antelope Valley and became the program director in June 2018 where she was instrumental in opening and expanding mental health services to the Santa Clarita Valley and Long Beach.