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Children Who Give

Aside from modeling philanthropy yourself, if you want your children to become charitable citizens, start teaching them about it when they’re young. Here are some suggestions to get them started.

1. Teaching children to share is Charity 101. The concept of sharing is a good way to begin to teach young children about the concept of giving. When a child gives a toy or snack to another, they’re learning to share. As it becomes age-appropriate, you can use the concept of sharing to explain charity.

2. You’re never too young to give to a good cause. “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” is a great charitable event many children participate in. It began back in 1950, as a way for children to raise money for other children in need throughout the world. By Trick-or-Treating for donations on Halloween, through this program, children in the United States have collected close to $177 million for children in developing countries and learned about the art of giving.

3. Give from the toy box. Teach children to go through their toys and games and give away what they’re no longer playing with. The same goes for clothing they’ve outgrown or don’t like. Bring it all to a local charity with your child and discuss how it makes them feel when they give and how it may feel for the child who gets their things.

4. Give allowance. No matter how big or small an allowance is, you can teach your children that giving a small percentage is a responsible and civic-minded thing to do. Together you can research organizations that might inspire them—perhaps they like animals, for instance. It’s not about the size of the donation, it’s about the habit they’re developing.

Bottom Line: Charity really does start at home. Teaching your children to be life-long givers is a very good thing for all of us.