Christmas is the season for giving, but it’s important to teach your children about charity all year. This can be a difficult task because on one hand, you want to shelter your children from the troubles in the world until they are old enough to understand. On the other hand, compassion starts early and at home. Here are some of the ways that you can help get your children to care about others who have less:
1. Teach By Example: Children are incredibly observant and learning by watching you. If you practice empathy, compassion, and participate in charity, your children will too. Take a minute to assess what you are doing to help those who have less and find anywhere you can make some improvements. As you help, your children will follow your lead.
2. Talk About The Importance Of Helping Others: Doing is a big part of teaching, but children also need to understand why they should help. Think about your family’s values and what lessons you want to instill in your children. Then explain to them why you believe need to help other people, they will take these lessons and build on them as they start doing.
3. Teach Them About The World: This can be challenging because you don’t want them to be afraid of the bad things that happen and a lot of the problems in the world are difficult for anyone to understand. However, if you teach your children about the different cultures and people, they’ll begin to understand that they are part of a larger world and in that world, they can do a lot of small things that can make a big positive impact for others.
4. Let Them Ask Questions: Children are naturally curious and part of their learning process is to ask questions. They may ask some hard questions, things you may not know the answers too, but just be an honest as you can. If you don’t know the answer, just tell them there are some things in this world even you don’t understand. You can also help them figure things out by asking them why they think things are the way they are in the world.
5. Volunteer With A Charity: There are thousands of charitable organizations to volunteer with and plenty of fun and engaging volunteer activities. Find something your children will enjoy so they can see helping isn’t just rewarding, it’s a great way for them to spend their time. Plus, it will help expose them to the less fortunate and show them they are people just like them.
6. Let Them Pick A Cause: You’ll be amazed at the generosity of spirit in your children. If there’s something they really start caring about, encourage them by helping them find a way to get involved. The more excited they are about the cause, they more excited they will be about helping others. The next time you want to volunteer or donate, ask your children who they think you should help. Then take the time to do some research together to find an organization you can work with to support their chosen cause.
7. Ask Them For Ideas: If you find your child is asking you about a cause, ask them how they think they could help. For example, if they are worried about homelessness, ask them “What can you do to help homeless people?” You’ll be amazed at their answers and what they are willing to give to others. If they come up with a great idea, like donating clothes or food, help them figure out how to do it!
8. Use Their Talents: Every child has unique talents. Some are great at sports; some are good at art, while others are very good at organizing. Think about some of your child’s innate talents and then find ways they can use those talents to help the less fortunate. If they are great at sports, they could help with the Special Olympics. If they love art, they can help brighten the children’s cancer ward. If they are great at organizing, help them lead a food drive. When they can use their talents to help, they will understand that they have the ability to really make a difference.
There are many ways to encourage your children to care about the less fortunate. Though volunteering is its own reward, make sure that they also get acknowledgment for their care and hard work. One way to do this is by the keeper of the Naughty or Nice list, Santa Claus. With a personalized letter from Santa, you can help show that all the work your children have done to help others is so important that Santa himself has taken time out to thank them.