5 Ways to teach your children about charity and giving back

Teaching children about money goes beyond the dollars and cents of saving and budgeting. It’s about learning about both the intrinsic benefits and the positive results of giving back. This could mean raising money to donate to your favourite charity, setting aside part of your monthly budget, or simply giving your time to help those in need.

Teaching your children the concept of charity and giving back will guide them to make a difference in the causes that are important to them for years to come. Here are five ways you can introduce them to the important concept of giving back.

Open up a dialogue

Once your kids start participating in school fundraising activities like the Terry Fox Run or the Jump Rope for Heart event, it’s the perfect opportunity to start a dialogue about what it means to give back and make a difference within your community. Complement what they learn through their school by explaining the importance of the event they’re helping to support and why it’s important to help those in need, contribute to important community initiatives, or help in the advancement of medical research.

Lead by example

 The best way to teach your children good behavior is to exhibit it yourself. Each time you do something to give back – i.e. dropping off food at a food bank – use it as a teaching opportunity to explain why you’re doing it, and who it’s helping.

If your children are approaching their teenage years, this could be a good time to introduce the idea of including charitable donations in your family’s monthly budget. If you already do this, explain how you allocate a portion of your income to your favourite charity. If you don’t already do this and would like to start – perfect! Now’s the time to involve your children in the process by allowing them to help you choose a charity and then walk them through the process of setting up regular donations. Once they reach working age, they’ll already have the idea of giving back engrained in them – thanks to you.

  Make it a family affair

Set up a time to volunteer together as a family at your local soup kitchen or food bank. Explain to your children about the importance of helping those who have less than they do, and try to do this at regular intervals throughout the year. As your children grow older, you can involve them more in the process by allowing them to choose a charity of their choice and set up times to volunteer there as a family. Volunteering as a family is the perfect way to give back to the community while spending quality time together.

Read more: Start Volunteering as a Family

Charitable birthdays

Let’s face it. There are only so many toy cars and dolls your home can handle. For your child’s next birthday party, explain to them that your family will be collecting donations in lieu of gifts. If you’re giving to a toy drive, for instance, talk about the children in the city who would love to have the opportunity to play with the same toys your child owns but don’t have the means to do so. Your child can be instrumental in giving them that opportunity – and that should feel good.

Donate clothes

Your kids are bound to accumulate a large quantity of clothing over the years as they move from one size to the next. Doing a regular review of clothing together and donating the clothing they are not using is a simple way to teach them about the act of charity and highlight the importance of giving to those who have less than they do.

Giving should happen throughout the year, and each time you give, make it a teachable moment for your children to take away and etch into their memory as they grow up. Make it part of your family’s mantra and before you know it, you’ll be able to take pride in having raised generous, money-smart individuals.

What are some creative or unique ways you use to teach your children to give back?

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Pira Kumarasamy

Pira Kumarasamy is a Toronto-based freelance writer and communications consultant in the financial space. She has a background in economics and enjoys making complex financial topics relatable to the average Canadian. Her areas of interest include financial markets, student loans and real estate. You can reach her on Twitter (@PiraKumarasamy) or LinkedIn.