If you’ve made a commitment to living a philanthropic life, it’s important to instill those same values into your children and other children in your family. Some research studies show that children already have a deep-seeded instinct to share and help others. Because children have a natural inclination to give, getting them involved with philanthropy early on is the perfect opportunity to further build upon those instincts.
Be a role model
Children naturally look up to their parents and other adults in their life. Research supports that children are more likely to be generous when at least one parent displays that behavior to them. In addition to letting your children learn by example, it’s also important to have conversations with them about giving. One study found that teenagers were 18 percent more likely to donate money to a charity if a parent had also made one in the past year. If the parent had talked with their child about giving, while also donating, the child was 33 percent more likely to give.
Help them understand the need
Children need to understand that their help is required to feel compelled to help. Teach your children to be empathetic to others’ situations. Help them make a connection with those in need. Volunteer at a homeless shelter and let your children talk to the people staying at the shelter. This helps your children to make a real connection with the people they’re helping, which inspires them to give.
Help them see their impact
Research supports the theory that adults feel more generous with their giving when they see the effect that it has on others. It makes sense that the same feeling would occur in children. However, monetary donations are harder for children to understand and see the direct impact of. For younger children, finding more direct ways to get involved will help them feel more connected with giving. Take them to the grocery store to pick out a few healthy items and then go and drop those off at the food bank.
When children get older, you can volunteer at a nursing home together or participate in a park cleanup. This will help your children to form strong connections with the people they’re helping, which will encourage them to keep helping. Once your children can understand the concept of money, let them read the thank you letters you get from donating and help them learn where that money is going and why you feel compelled to give.
Encouraging children to be generous and caring will, in turn, help them to grow up to be kind and compassionate adults. Instilling a love of generosity early on will encourage them to be philanthropic citizens for the rest of their lives.