Have you ever asked yourself, “why isn’t my child generous to others?” If so, you aren’t alone, nor have you failed as a parent. These days, it seems like generosity is hard to come by––everyone is out for themselves––and no one is looking out for others. However, instead of blaming the world for the way your child perceives giving, it’s important to look at yourself as their role model and teach them generosity.
Teaching your child to enjoy giving is easier said than done. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy receiving gifts? Still, teaching this valuable lesson can benefit your child well into adulthood. Here’s how you can teach your child to enjoy the gift of giving––just in time for the holidays.
1. Be a Good Role Model
Research shows that children are more likely to be generous if at least one parent models that behavior for them. Another study indicated that children were also more likely to practice generosity if their parents had a conversation about giving––well before adolescence.
Most of the time, actions speak louder than words. Just talking about generosity isn’t enough to teach the importance of being generous. You need to back up your words with actions. A great way to model generosity is to be a generous person yourself. Consider spending time out of your schedule volunteering at places in your city. This could look like helping out at the nursing home on the weekends, helping your elderly neighbor get groceries out of their car, or something as simple as donating clothes to the thrift store.
2. Help Your Child Understand the Need to Give
For kids to feel driven to help others, they need to understand why giving is necessary. This is where you, as a parent, can tap into your child’s empathy––their ability to pick up on others’ emotional needs. Studies show that kids are most likely to help people in need when they can see the world through their eyes.
Instead of taking your child to donate to shelters, consider taking them to greet some people there. This simple act could help alert your child to the need of others in the shelter. Making connections with those in need can help us tap into the emotional needs of others.
3. Help Them See Their Impact
For children as young as five, the concept of money is really hazy, so donating monetary items isn’t a great way to teach your child how to give. If you want your child to understand the difference they make when giving to others, take them to a soup kitchen, or somewhere they can make a tangible connection.
Engaging your child in altruistic acts like a soup kitchen, or park cleanup, is a great way for your child to see their work’s impact. If they work with others in these environments, they’re more likely to form connections with other workers––further impacting the way they view their work.
4. Empower Your Child
If you want your child to feel good about giving, you need to motivate them and make them feel good about themselves. Let your child know that the acts of service they are giving is important and that their actions make a difference to their community and other people’s lives. If your child feels empowered while giving, they will be motivated to make a difference.
Start small and help your child understand why generosity is important. If you practice the gift of giving with your child, you can help them make a habit out of generosity and giving. Their small acts of generosity will impact the lives of others for a lifetime.