The sooner parents or guardians of small children begin to teach charitable values, the better. Here are three areas to consider as you get started.
Lead by example
Children tend to look to their parents or guardians to see how they should respond to various situations, so it’s important to demonstrate positive behavior and act as a role model. To effectively lead by example, it’s important to both show and tell. Demonstrate empathy by giving spare change to someone in need, helping an elderly neighbor unload their groceries, picking up canned goods for a food drive, or volunteering to help out at your child’s school. Children should be taught to understand that other people have emotions and feelings just like they do. Openly discussing the concept of empathy, talking about feelings, and teaching self-awareness and respect can all help to establish charitable values.
Teach financial values and literacy
It’s also extremely important to teach children financial literacy, as it will serve as the very foundation of their lifelong relationship with money. Teach them the importance of saving, spending, goal-setting, and giving, as well as the interconnectedness of each category. Learning financial management is a critical first step when it comes to charitable giving. Read our previous blog for some additional tips on teaching your kids about personal finance.
Explore various ways to give back
At The Humphreys Group, we aim to give back through the three Ts; time, talent and treasure. Here are a few ways to exemplify each.
- Time. Work together at a food kitchen one night per month. Ring bells for Salvation Army over the holidays. Volunteer through a church or a community center. Showing up and spending valuable time for the benefit of others is a great way to demonstrate to your kids that they are a part of a larger community, and that giving back and helping out can benefit that community as a whole.
- Talent. Another way to give back (and instill the importance of giving back in your kids) is by donating your talent. If you are a lawyer, that could mean doing pro bono work in collaboration with a local charity group. If your child excels at a specific school subject, say, spelling, it could mean encouraging them to go over flashcards with a classmate who is struggling before the next spelling quiz.
- Treasure. It’s also important to demonstrate the impact of philanthropic donations and help children understand the power of generosity. One way to accomplish this is by breaking their allowance into two categories: spending money and money to donate. Say you give your child $10 per week, with the understanding that $5 of it is to spend as they wish and the other $5 is to put into a box for the charity of their choice. Once they have accumulated $50, sit down together and discuss which charity they want to donate to. Once they have chosen, begin the process again. Not only is this a great way to instill charitable values, but it also teaches your child about various causes and organizations.
Teaching children that there are multiple ways to live their charitable values can open up an array of avenues for them to give back over the course of their lives. If you’d like to continue the conversation, please reach out to The Humphreys Group.