Sharing their good fortune with others can be one of the most important money lessons your child can learn. It can help them understand their role within the community and the ways in which small acts can have a greater effect. It can also help them think about others. Which can be a good thing, especially if you find them becoming too focussed on their own needs and wants.
The good news is – sharing comes naturally to young children. So the key is to foster your child's charitable impulses, and the best way to do this is acting as a good role model. As the saying goes, "Charity begins at home".
When talking to your children about sharing and charity, perhaps the following conversation starters might prove useful:
- Talk about why sharing is important
- Ask them how sharing with other people makes them feel
- Ask them how do they feel when people share with them
- Ask them how they would feel if they couldn’t have something they needed
Once you've talked to them about the importance of sharing and charity, you can start putting some ideas into practice. Here are just some to start with:
- If a younger child has a friend's birthday coming up, you can encourage them to make a gift. It could be something as simple as a card.
- If your children see a natural disaster on TV, talk about how these people could have no home or possessions, and explain how small donations of items or money could make a big difference to their lives.
- You could also set a time each month or two to go through the things you do not use anymore and take them to a charity together.
- Some parents also like their children to dedicate a percentage of their allowance to sharing (you could sit down with them and work out how much they will spend, save and share each week).
- If you donate to a charity, involve your child in choosing the charity. My children love donating toys to a children's charity at Christmas time.
Make charity a family event. Research your local charities to see if they are looking for volunteers. This can be very rewarding and also a great day out for the entire family.
For related post and downloadable activity sheets about financial literacy for kids, visit The Beanstalk.