Giving back almost seems natural to us adults. Creating donation piles or offering money to those who face hard times is like second nature. But much like everything else we do so well in our lives, it was taught to us. Now it is time to teach to give to our little ones!
When our children watch us do good, it resonates. Leading by example starts right away. No matter the age, children can have a powerful impact on their communities, but its up to us parents and caregivers to get them engaged and pointed in the right direction.
When a child gives their time, talent, and treasures to charitable causes, valuable life skills are sure to follow. Learning how to work with others, take directions, and fine-tune organizational skills are just a few ways volunteering shape a child’s philanthropic self. Developing empathy and compassion for those who have unique struggles opens a whole new point of view for many children.
What is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is always on the Tuesday after the American Thanksgiving holiday. Held this year on November 27, Giving Tuesday began in 2012 as a movement in response to the amplified consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Think of it as the day to respond to all the buying and spending with volunteering and charity.
So what ways can our little ones get involved? Below are a few ideas to get them thinking what they can do on Giving Tuesday and beyond.
Get the discussion going about hosting a drive. Drives are the easiest way to collect non-perishable food, coats, shoes, or even pet supplies, for those who need it most during the holidays and cold months. A simple phone call to a food bank or shelter will let you and your child know what its current needs are (ie: “we have plenty of coats but we need pajamas”) and your family and friends can begin collecting.
2. Feed the pig!
It is likely that your child has a piggy bank, or maybe the family has a change jar set aside. With your children’s help, set up a charitable jar where your children can throw in change throughout the year. As a child receives money, like gifts or allowances, encourage them to make deposits. Decide as a family the best place to donate all that adds up.
Soup kitchens, nursing homes, and hospitals are always welcoming places for helping hands. The holiday season is bursting with opportunities left and right. Involving children in the decision-making process of where to volunteer is a great motivator.
4. Holiday bake sales!
Maybe make your Giving Tuesday even sweeter by hosting a bake sale. Help the children bake delicious treats and ask their friends to join in on the fun. Deciding where all the money should go, again, makes kids feel like they are really making a difference.
5. Think outside of the box!
Animal shelters need towels, blankets, and food, too. Besides toys and clothes, children in need often are in need of books. Perhaps the local public garden’s caretakers need new tools. As the parent, keep your ear to the ground on locals needs and work with your child on making some of these wishes a reality.
Remember: a little by little, a little becomes a lot!