Raising children with the expectation that they will give back to their communities is important, and not just because you want to give them things to put on their resumes or eventual college applications. Teaching children the value of volunteer work teaches them to value what they have, to appreciate their own lives and find worth in the lives of others. The most effective ways to teach children about the importance is giving are to show them how through example and to simply talk about it with them.
Children whose parents talk to them about charity and volunteering are 20 percent more likely to give to charity than those whose parents don’t talk to them about it, says a study from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. And that’s a very good thing.
“It’s especially important for kids to experience fulfillment from giving back because it lays the groundwork for them to grow up to be empathetic and philanthropic adults,” says Sharon Epperson, Senior Personal Finance Correspondent at CNBC. Especially as the holidays are just around the corner, now is a wonderful time to talk to your children about philanthropy.
Even better is to help them find a cause or a program your child wants to support, and there are plenty of them out there! Participate in their schools’ toy, coat, or canned food drives. Encourage them to learn about different charities or causes online to help them improve their readings skills and find something they care about.
“Young people today have been raised on phones and tablets in a way no other generation has,” says Lisa Tomasi, founder and CEO of YouGiveGoods, an online site for stating food or supply drives. “Kids can start their own campaign and track its progress. It’s a method they are familiar with an engaged in.”
There are lots of other ways to get your kids volunteering, too. Incorporate some kind of volunteer work into your family’s schedule—once a week, once a month, or once a year. If volunteering is part of your family’s values, kids are likely to grow up to embody them better.
Get out there and get going!