A few days ago I wrote about how to be generous, but today I want to talk about how to teach generosity. I don’t have children, but I have a lot of experience with children. I have four younger brothers, over a dozen younger cousins, and a niece. I was also a pediatric home health aide and a pediatric nurse for some time. Not to mention, I just overall love children. I’m no expert, but I get them. When thinking about having children in my future, I often contemplate about my childhood and what I would have done differently if I were my parents. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and I think they did an overall great job raising us, but there are some things that I would have done differently if given the resources and the ability.
We didn’t have allowance growing up because if we wanted something that my parents could afford, we would typically get it for a holiday. We didn’t officially do chores either. There wasn’t a ton of structure when it came to that type of thing. I love my mom very much, but she’s not great at following through with things. She would ground me for a month, but a week or two in, I would get my stuff back. Or we would start a project and never finish it.
When I have children, I want to start them with chores as soon as possible. Things as little as grabbing their own cups/snacks, putting away clean dishes, filling the dogs food dish and the like can give a child a sense of purpose, responsibility, and accomplishment. Generosity works in the same way.
When my husband and I have children, I want to allow them the opportunity to earn an allowance. By doing age appropriate tasks, they will be able to earn their very own money. I once read about a breakdown of allowance for children that I thought was a great idea. For example, if your child receives $6 per week for completing their chores, $2 would be for savings, $2 would be for donation, and $2 would be for their own spending. Having this discussion with your child will create understanding of how their money will be allotted. Have your child go with you to the bank to deposit their savings money. And, when saved up, have your child go with you to donate money to a cause that they choose. For example, if you child is passionate about animals, have them go with you to buy treats for the animals and then go with your child to the shelter to drop off the donation. Having your child directly involved in generosity and donations from an early age will ingrain these thoughts in their mind. They will be able to visual realize how grateful and happy what they did made other people and animals.
Another great way to teach children about generosity is for the adults in their life to be generous. Children look up to their parents and other influential adults greatly and like they say, monkey see, monkey do. By being a generous and kind individual, you are teaching your children how to be a good person first hand. My grandma taught me how to crochet when I was about eleven years old and I have crocheted countless blankets, scarves, hats, booties… many of which have been donated. Involve your child in your charity work. If you are crocheting scarves for a Native American Reservation in Arizona or fleece blankets for Project Linus, teach your child how to crochet and have them help you crochet some. Not only will you be helping others, but you will be spending quality time together. Don’t know how to crochet? That’s okay! See my recent post about ways to be generous and bring your kiddo along for the ride. Baking cookies for your local hospital staff, picking up groceries for an elderly neighbor, or donating clothes/toys to Salvation Army are great options too!
It’s never too early to start teaching your children about being a good person. The little people of today are the leaders of tomorrow and it is time well spent to help them grow into kind/healthy adults. However you decide to do it, I admire your commitment. I know it isn’t easy being a parent, but I can only imagine how rewarding it can be.