As parents, you have values that you instill in your children, honesty, compassion, responsibility, to name a few. Being charitable isn’t always at the top of the list, but showing children the significance of giving back starting at an early age, encourages them to be charitable as adults, and helps them appreciate what they do have. There are many ways to teach children the importance of giving, that won’t cost a cent, it’s not all about money.

Non-profits need more than monetary donations to carry out their missions, some agencies rely heavily on volunteers. Your children will find out how much of an impact they can make even by doing something small and you’ll find that you may benefit from these suggestions as well. Here are just a few options to explore:

  • Donate toys and clothes – Go through old toys and clothes with your child at least a couple of times a year, make three piles:
    • donate
    • keep
    • throw away
    • Take your child to the organization to drop off the donation, or better yet, let them help choose the organization you’ll be giving to
  • Take initiative and start a project:
    • Pick up trash in a favorite park
    • Work with your child’s school to plan a community impact project such as visiting residents at a retirement home
    • Offer free tutoring to other children who can’t otherwise afford it
    • Encourage your children to do random good deeds, for example, help a neighbor carry in groceries, especially if they are elderly
  • Volunteer – yes, the most obvious choice, but, some organizations need volunteers to run their day to day operations, some examples:
    • Animal shelters often seek people who will give attention to the animals as they await adoption, some need help to maintain their facilities
    • Community centers and pools need volunteers to greet people and perform routine tasks
    • Many agencies are constantly seeking help in clerical work or making phone calls

Use your imagination, follow your interests, if there is an organization you feel particularly passionate about, call and see how you can help. No matter what you do, the vital part is doing it. It will help your children learn humility, empathy, and the importance of giving and it won’t cost you a thing except for your time and compassion, it’s a win-win for everyone!

~Aimee B.