Getting Your Child Involved In Charitable Giving

Are you a parent who wants to teach your child about charitable giving? Do you want your child to grow up caring about the disadvantaged in your community and around the world? Then now is the time to start.

The money habits and values learned as a child and teenager are the ones that tend to stick with a person throughout life. So if you want your son or daughter to learn to be charitable toward others, it is best to teach it early.

Model Charitable Giving to Your Child

If your son or daughter can see that being charitable is important to you, it is more likely that it will be important to them. Talk with your child about how to be charitable and back up your words with your actions.

Educate Your Child about Charity

Make use of resources such as the "Go, Diego, Go" television series. In that series, Diego regularly rescues animals in need of help. Discuss with your child the value of helping those in need. Or purchase the VeggieTales DVD, "Are You My Neighbor?" This 30-minute episode from the popular computer animated series retells the story of the Good Samaritan. The music on the DVD includes the lyrics, "If you see someone who’s hurt or in need, Maybe it’s time to perform a good deed. And when you’ve finished you’ll find that it’s true, When you make them feel better, you’ll feel better too!" Talk with your child about the lessons learned.

Get Your Child Actively Involved

Invite your son or daughter to partner with you on a charitable project. This will allow him or her to get hands-on experience while creating a shared memory with you. Plus, depending on the project, you may both see the benefits of your generosity.

There are several options available for getting your son or daughter involved in a charitable activity. Here are a dozen suggestions to get you started:

  • Sponsor a child through WorldVision.org, Compassion.com or ChildFund.org.
  • Help an elderly neighbor with household chores.
  • Volunteer to serve meals at a local soup kitchen.
  • Go on a food drive for a food bank. (You may find a listing for a nearby food bank at SalvationArmy.ca.)
  • Donate your used (but still usable) toys and cloths to a local charitable thrift store.
  • Fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child (SamaritansPurse.org/OCC).
  • Build a house or shed with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Get involved in charitable causes with your church’s youth or children’s ministry.
  • Purchase items through the online gift catalogue of an international relief organization such as WorldHope.org.
  • Contact an animal shelter to donate time by helping feed and clean the animals. When looking for a pet, choose to adopt a rescued animal.
  • Make regular trips to a nursing home to visit the residents, read to them, and offer to clip their toenails and fingernails.
  • Check with a children’s hospital to inquire how you can get involved there.

Fine Tune Charitable Involvement to Your Child

Use discretion about what activities are appropriate for the age of your child. If he or she expresses interest in a particular charity or experiences significant satisfaction by participating in a certain project, make arrangements to become more involved in that area. If there are financial costs involved, invite your son or daughter to contribute a percentage from any allowance or earnings from a part-time job.

Celebrate the Charitable Activity

Whatever charitable activities your child participates in, be sure to praise him or her and encourage future involvement. Perhaps you can take a picture of your son or daughter "in action" and put it on display in a prominent location in your home. Applaud the good deed so that your child will be inclined to value charity and make charitable activity a regular part of life.