Kids

Help Turn Your Children Into Good People

Generosity in children, rare but appreciatedAs parents, we try to instil in our children our values. For many of us, a generous spirit is central to those values. Generous people not only contribute much to the world, but are themselves rewarded in terms of the loyalty, respect and the friendship of others.

Sharing is the cornerstone of generosity for children, and it still doesn’t come easily. They generally focus on what it will “cost” them to share. As they get older their friends’ approval becomes important to them and they start to understand the benefits of generous behaviour in making and maintaining friendships.

 

What you can do

Develop empathy. Empathy is the ability to recognize other people’s emotions, needs, and feelings. Developing empathy allows your child to recognize that others might want or need something and allows them to feel good about being generous, because they can understand how their generosity is helping.

Teach kindness. Explain that generosity isn’t just about giving time or money. It’s also about performing kind acts in everyday life. Encourage your kids to perform random acts of kindness by giving them an occasional kindness task. For example, suggest that your kids tell one person during the day why they like them. Or propose that they talk or play with a kid who isn’t popular

Be your own hero. What is the best thing about being generous? It helps us! That’s right, being generous is really in our own self-interest because it helps us make friends and feel good about ourselves. Emphasize that we can control what we feel like on the inside by making choices we are proud of every day.

Show that you give too. Whenever you give your time, talent, thanks, or treasures to others, let your children know how good it makes you feel, how it helps others, and why you do it. When they see and hear about you doing it, it will be more natural for them to do it as well. It will simply be -something your family does.

Donate. Before your child’s birthday or birthday party, ask him or her which toys she can contribute to others. If s/he receives 10 new gifts, are their 10 toys or games from her current stash that she can donate to someone in need? If your child has money or pocket money, ask him to donate a certain portion of it to charity. Allow your child to choose the charity, and have him donate the money personally if possible. This makes giving more concrete for the child.

Volunteering. There is no better place to show a child the desperate needs of those in society than at a homeless shelter. Volunteering their time will give children a glimpse at how impoverished some people are and often through no fault of their own.

Gratitude. Each day ask what the family is grateful for and how they showed generosity. This can become part of your routine at dinner time or before bed.

Pile on the praise. Whenever your child does share, tell him how happy it makes you. She’ll be happy that she pleased you, and eventually generous behaviour will come more naturally to her.

By starting early and emphasizing the importance of giving and showing how great it feels, you can help your children focus on becoming caring, kind, and generous people. There is no greater gift you can give your kids than a deep sense of generosity, which will ensure they have happy and fulfilling lives.

 

 – Sharon Atkins

 

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