Raising kids who give back is a big priority for me as a parent! My kids are still quite young (6, 4, 3, and newborn), so the options are limited, but here are a few ways I try to get them thinking about leaving the world a better place than they found it:
- Teach by example. Donate to charities, volunteer at your child’s school, drop food off at your local food bank. Be kind to others.
- Get them involved. My kids are getting better at going through their belongings and picking out items they want to donate rather than feeling like every item I suggest is the most important item ever. They have an easy time going through clothing now; we have a lot of work to do with toys still!
- Choose accessible projects. This was the whole point of putting together a craft ebook for the Small Hands Creating Hope fundraiser. Giving back can be as simple as making something for someone who is having a rough time – or walking around your neighborhood picking up trash.
- Encourage them to reach out. I am trying to teach my children to always be kind and to always treat others with respect.
- Write thank you notes. Gratitude is the first step to giving back.
- Where possible, support inspirational dreams. Like this documentary looking at using community creative arts programs to support a peaceful post conflict community. I’m not affiliated with this project in any way, but I studied this same topic for my doctoral dissertation, so I’m excited to see a documentary on the same topic in a different part of the world.
Here are a few causes I’m exploring with my kids this month:
- Go Orange for No Kid Hungry runs September 6-9. Did you know that one in five children in the United states struggle with hunger?
- September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and there are several ways kids can make a difference. This photo essay can introduce you to a few pediatric cancer patients.We are also opening the Small Hands Creating Hope fundraiser back up for the month of September. Go to this link to get all the details!
- Help BGCA provide school supplies to kids in need through Bloggers Filling Backpacks.
There are even more opportunities to help if you look at global organizations. Do you have a favorite global charity? Giving back – locally or globally – is a great way to increase global awareness, since it helps children and parents look beyond their immediate needs.
I feel like Emma (6 years old) is getting to an age where she can be involved more with giving back, so I would love to hear how you are working on this with your children!
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
21 thoughts on “Raising Kids Who Give Back”
You know this is right up my alley. Thanks for sharing!
Amen Sister! Above all my mission is to raise compassionate and giving children. My children are very aware of the needs of others. I hope it is okay but I linked up to my post from yesterday that certainly applies to your ideas. We support children in Cambodia and I just returned from my second volunteer trip to Cambodia. I am highlighting an organization that fights the trafficking of children. Together we can make this world a better place for all children! :)
Love this! So important, in my opinion, to raise kids to make a difference.
What an interesting idea to have a cross-blog conversation.
It’s so hard to find good projects for kids to get involved in, especially young kids because most places don’t want little guys there (understandably).
That’s what I have found most challenging, as well – you definitely have to do your research and get creative!
I love this post! I’ve pinned it and shared it on FB and via Twitter. :)
Thank you, Jen!
Kindness and gratitude go a long way, and I love to help my kids learn this among family members at home and in simple volunteer activities. They are also very clear about how it helps others to give away things we no longer need or use.
It’s evident from your blog that your kids understand kindness and gratitude – it’s one of the things I love about visiting your site!
We do the 3 (4 actually) cups thing, so part of Rebecca’s allowance goes into her giving jar, which she uses periodically to buy animals through Heifer, because we talked about how giving someone an animal is a gift that will keep feeding them, and that when that animal has babies they have pledged to pay forward the gift to another family, so she is helping lots of people to help themselves, which she likes.
We need to do more hands on things though.
This is a very thoughtful post. As a family we give to Save The Children organization and to Red Cross. We also take part in various community food and clothes drives, but they usually happen around the holidays. Our school has very strong community focus, and this is where I would like to be more involved this year – perhaps both of us contribute to various activities and projects going on in school.
What lovely ideas for encouraging children to give back! One of the ways I do this with Sunnyboy is through doing voluntary work together. :)
I love the way you and Sunnyboy volunteer at a charity shop together!
I was just talking with a couple other bloggers about starting some outreach and getting our kids involved, great post. Didn’t know about no kid hungry this month!
There are a bunch of bloggers working together for No Kid Hungry – let me know if you’d like more info!
Yes! Would love some more info, thanks!
Thanks for your post. I know we’ve struggled to find ways to get our kids involved in service projects. You’re right though to start these attitudes at home with simple actions like writing thank you notes.
Welcome back! I think you are doing a great job with all you do for your kids!
I think this is a lesson we are all struggling with teaching our kids. You are right, it does start with parents and us setting that example of giving. Little eyes are always watching.
Hooray for giving back!
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