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4 ways to teach young kids about giving back...
16 May 2017

4 ways to teach young kids about giving back

As my kids get older, it's been really important to me and my husband to help teach them how to give joy to others—especially those who don't have as much or have been born into unfortunate circumstances. So throughout the year, we have a few different ways that we try to teach our kids the gift of giving and to also teach them to be grateful for what we do have. I get a lot of questions about this when I share some of the things we do on Instagram stories, so I wanted to put together a few of my favorite ideas here on how to teach young kids to give back...

4 ways to teach young kids about giving back

4 ways to teach young kids about giving back

1. Collect toy or book donations in lieu of birthday gifts. In lieu of gifts, ask friends to bring new or gently used books or toys to be donated to a children's charity (I usually donate to Baby2Baby). For Ruby and Coco's birthday party last year, we collected over 60 books for children in need, and we loved telling our kids why were collecting books for other kids instead of getting presents for them. If you're able to take your kids with you to donate the items they've collected, they can more directly see how they are helping to make an impact in the lives of others.

4 ways to teach young kids about giving back

2. Spring cleaning to donate clothes and other items they've grown out of. Kids understand the concept of getting too big for their clothes or outgrowing a toy they once loved when they were younger. If you make this an annual tradition, it offers them a chance to think about how these items (that are still in very good condition) can help someone else. We also tend to do this around Christmas as well, so that for every new present my kids get, we donate something in its place. That way they don't keep getting more and more things for themselves, and start to understand that the holidays are about giving, too.

4 ways to teach young kids about giving back

3. Sponsor a child in another part of the country. Sponsoring a child offers your kids a more one-on-one connection with the person they are helping. Every kid can relate to other kids on some level. By giving your kids a chance to see a photo of a child, draw pictures for them, and know that your family is helping the other child's family in some way can be really gratifying for kids. They can help choose what country the child is from, their age, and their gender. You can find children to sponsor through Children International and Plan International.

4 ways to teach young kids about giving back

4 ways to teach young kids about giving back

4. Host a lemonade stand. Having a lemonade stand is a classic rite of passage for a kid. If you can turn their lemonade stand into one that will benefit others, they'll go into it with a different mentality. Alex's Lemonade Stand makes it easy to help kids set up a stand of their own to fight childhood cancer. Kids can keep it simple with classic homemade lemonade or choose to make special treats to sell as well. If you also include the kids in the process of making the items they are selling, they'll be even more dedicated to the whole process.

Once your kids get older, you'll have more options like volunteering at a soup kitchen or a local food bank (these usually require kids to be in their teens for in-person volunteering) and you can really get them even more involved. I hope that my suggestions here helped, and if you've experienced other ways to teach kids to give back, please share. I'd love to hear more ideas!

{Photos by Casey Brodley}

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