On the cusp of the season of “getting,” now is the time to encourage kids to get in the giving spirit. Though they are small, there are still so many ways for little ones to give. Kids can give their time to help others, give items to those in need or give the dollars they earn to causes important to them.
In any form, the research on giving is clear: kids gain even more when they give. Children who give to others have a better sense of well-being, more acceptance among peers and even higher academic achievement. They have deeper empathy for the experiences of others and a solid sense of purpose in the greater world around them. Kids who give see how small changes can have big impacts on the lives of others.
But how can parents get their little ones in the giving spirit? It’s actually as easy as one, two, three.
- Spend to give. Many kids don’t realize that some of the clothing, toy or tech brands they love actually give back. When parents make conscious decisions to support companies that work for the greater good, it’s essential that they let their kids in on the secret. Parents should also explain how their dollars are doing double duty – not only are they purchasing an item or service, but the company is putting some of the dollars to work to benefit causes that matter. Givz makes spending-to-give as seamless as possible by allowing consumers to pick a charity of their choice to benefit from their purchase – with no cost to them! The next time parents make a purchase + Givz donation, they should make sure their kids watch the magic happen.
- Give locally. By giving locally, kids can see firsthand how their time or dollars can make real change in their world. When they donate food they have purchased (and picked out!) from the nearby grocery store to their local food pantry, they feed their neighbors in need. When they give their time to clean up their parks or beaches, they make an impact in their community and beyond. When they serve food at their nearby soup kitchens, they feed the hungry outside their doorsteps. Giving locally allows young children to experience how their dollars, donations or service results in impactful change right in their own backyard.
- Follow their passions. Parents can also encourage kids to give by harnessing their passions and interests and focusing on causes that are important to them. Obsessed with animals? Explore a local farm sanctuary and help groom her generosity. Adores the outdoors? Perhaps the Nature Conservancy can cultivate his giving. Foodie in the making? Feed America could whet her giving appetite. By tapping into children’s interests, it’s easier, and more natural, for kids to get started giving.
When it comes to raising generous kids, the key to inspiring a lifetime of giving is to start early. From a very young age, children have strong instincts to share and help others. As parents, we need to capture this inherent generosity and sense of fairness and help our kids stretch their giving muscles in small, but meaningful ways. It’s our job to provide kids the opportunities to give, and when they do, the happy feeling they get encourages them to do it again.
Giving is a contagion we actually want to spread. Even one altruistic act can spark real change. When a child or adult gives their time, items or money, it encourages those around them to do the same, in different ways and to different people. The ripple effects of this phenomenon are inspiring. If that small act of giving then ignites a new wave of generosity, meaningful shifts can happen within communities. Little ones can have a big impact, even by starting small.