Generosity can’t be forced. But you can demonstrate, encourage, and reward it. These tips may be all you need to help foster a giving spirit.
- Urge your children to give the gifts of time and attention. Invite them to join you when you visit an elderly relative, shop for a friend who is sick, or walk a dog for a busy new mother.
- Show enthusiasm when your kids give you handmade gifts. They need to know their ideas and creations are valued.
- Volunteer at a food bank or a bake sale to raise money for a worthy cause, and take your kids with you. Inspire older children to volunteer. They can stack books at the local library, participate in clothing and food drives, or carve out a few hours once a month to help a local service organization that aids children or animals.
- Teach your kids to consider the age, interests, hobbies, and abilities of the recipient when they give birthday and holiday gifts. (Younger children may need more help in getting a firm handle on that concept.)
- Persuade children to donate gently used clothes, backpacks, sports equipment, toys, books, and games to organizations that provide these items to children in need. But don’t force the issue if your child has second thoughts and can’t separate from a treasured item.
- Praise your kids’ random acts of kindness. Let them know how proud you are when they share with others or show empathy.
- Encourage your kids to note the generosity of others, and urge them to express their appreciation. Explain that teachers and coaches contribute their time, effort, and energy to helping in meaningful ways. Remind your kids to say thank you, or write or draw a special note of gratitude.