7 Ways to Encourage Generosity in Your Child

7 Ways to Encourage Generosity in Your Child

For a child, being generous doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes, it feels like you’re wrestling the Tasmanian Devil. We've all been there. You take your child to the store to buy a gift for a friend’s birthday party. Your child asks for something for himself. You reply “No, not this time”, with or without explanation as to why. At first, it could be a gentle reminder but quickly escalates to tears from your child and frustration from you.

Generosity is something that has to be taught and experienced. Today, I'm sharing seven ways you can encourage generosity in your child so that they can grow up to be generous and loving adults.

We live in a society that believes the more we have, the happier we are. It’s easy to get caught up in the stuff + more stuff = happiness equation. It would seem some people are naturally more generous but the truth is, they practiced giving until it became second nature.

Ask yourself, what feels better: Giving out of duty or a feeling of force or giving because you decided it was what you wanted to do?

Model Generosity in Your OwnLife{if they’re appropriate for your child to attend} 1. – When you give to someone or a cause, have your child present and answer their questions about why you’re there or what you’re doing. Everything from donating clothes to attending fundraisers is a demonstration in being generous.

Teach Money Skills{but really works for any age!} 2. – Giving your child an allowance is a great way to begin teaching generosity. One way is a money management system that is widely practiced with young children When your child earns the allowance for chores, have them separate the money into three jars: Spend, Save, Give. Explain the purpose of each jar and their options for giving, spending, and what to save for.

Paying it Forward 3. – You’ve seen people do this by paying for the next person in line’s coffee but it can be as simple as holding the door open for the person behind you when someone holds the door open for you. There’s never an expectation of recognition and a simple gesture can go a long way.

The Value of saying “Thank You” 4. – Those two simple words hold powerful meaning. The simple act of writing thank you notes at an early age is a great way to show their appreciation for someone else’s generosity. Once again, as a model of generosity, you’re imparting your own behavior when you tell someone else thank you.

Discuss the Feeling of Giving 5. – Sharing with your child how you feel when you give gives them the chance to think about how they too would like to feel. What feelings do you have when you give money or donate to a charity? Do you feel happy, helpful? Take time to tell your child how it feels to you when you help others in need.

Make Generosity Personal 6. – It’s hard for children to understand why they’re being generous when they can’t see the results or the recipients of their kindness. Small scale generosity is easier to understand. For instance, a fundraiser for a local family or child during the holidays. Even bringing a bag of pet food to the local animal shelter and playing with the animals makes the experience more personal for children.

When given the choice, most children would rather gift something to themselves. You are the biggest teaching tool in changing that instinct. Random acts of kindness, making giving a conscious choice, and practicing generosity are all keys to creating a giving generation.

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