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My 4 year old daughter has entered a new phase of life. In the past few months she has shown us a sense of generosity that makes my heart melt, and I want to encourage her generous spirit by teaching her how important it is to give back to those in need. While she may not be willing to place many of her toys in our local donation box just yet she can still learn those important lessons of helping others.. Here are a few of the things I am doing to encourage my daughter to help others in our community.
Learning By Example-
I may not always have money to donate, but I make it a personal mission of mine to share the opportunities I have to support others with my children. Whether it’s allowing my daughter to drop my extra change in the charity box by the register or sorting through our gently used items donating them together, I’m offering her the opportunity to actively participate in my own charitable actions.
Like most children my daughter absolutely loves to read, so we have incorporated lessons about generosity and charity through our nightly reading time. My daughter’s favorite book these days is The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving. We also added The Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need to our bookshelf.
Let the Child Pick a Charity-
Each week my daughter has the option to place her weekly allowance ($4 at her age) into 3 different envelopes: spending, savings, and charity. Instead of forcing her to put aside a certain amount for each I allow her to make her own decisions. Of course the first few weeks she placed all the money into her spending envelope, but as we have continued with the routine I now find her habits have changed by her own will. She slowly began to place a small amount into the savings envelope, but as our lessons of giving continued the charity envelope began to see a steady “donation” each week. Now my daughter is excited to place $2 in her spending envelope, $1 in savings, and $1 in the charity envelope each week!
I provided a list of 5 charities that our family supports, a local charity, 3 charities revolving around children, the Preeclampsia foundation (because she and I are Preeclampsia survivors), and a wildlife charity. After a discussion about each one she decided to support the Children’s Tumor Foundation in honor of a family friend her own age who has Neurofibromatosis. We have agreed to save her charity envelope until she reaches a $25 donation to send directly to the foundation or donate to a NF Walk.
We stopped by a local Alex’s Lemonade Stand a couple weeks ago, made a donation, and talked about why the children were raising money. I realized the lesson spoke to my little 4 year old when we began planning for our upcoming family yard sale. After a discussion about raising money for charities we decided together to donate a portion of our earnings and any items left after the sale to a local charity.
As my daughter and her understanding of giving back grows I’m sure we will add many more ways to share with those in need. Do you involve your children in your own charitable actions? I would love to hear how your children participate in helping your local community or charities you support.
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