They say that children are inherently compassionate and have a natural tendency to share, which is perfect for parents who want their children to grow up to be empathetic, charitable adults who make a conscious effort to positively contribute to society. While charities and nonprofits benefit from children and teens’ generosity and effort, philanthropy also has been scientifically proven to improve a child’s development. President and founder of Dollar Smart Kids Enterprises, Inc. Nancy Phillips explains that once your children see that they have the capacity to help others, whether it be in their community or across the globe, they’ll realize that they possess the power to make a positive difference in the world, boosting their self-esteem and self-confidence.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a couple tips in guiding your children to become philanthropists.
Introduce them to charities early on. The best time to start talking about donations and giving is between the ages of three to five, or their formative years. This is when you can discuss the importance of money and how it can help others, even if they aren’t old enough for an allowance.
Help children that are similar in age as your own. Volunteering at an orphanage, helping students at an afterschool program, or even exposing them to child sponsorships in war-torn countries will allow your kids to imagine themselves in the impoverished or at-risk children’s shoes, therefore developing a deeper understanding of the world’s injustices.
Get friends and family involved. To make volunteering a more enjoyable experience, turn it into an opportunity for family bonding or invite your children’s friends along. As parenting expert and educational psychologist Dr. Michele Borba said, “The more people in the group, the more energy they have to make a difference.”
Plan a volunteer vacation. Author of Raising Charitable Children Carol Weisman suggests that families use their time off with a volunteer vacation so that the whole family can dedicate a good amount of time for a good cause while also being productive and spending quality time with the family.