7 Ways to Encourage Generosity in Your Child

For a child, being generous doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes, it feels like you’re wrestling the Tasmanian Devil. We've all been there. You take your child to the store to buy a gift for a friend’s birthday party. Your child asks for something for himself. You reply “No, not this time”, with or without explanation as to why. At first, it could be a gentle reminder but quickly escalates to tears from your child and frustration from you.
Sound familiar? 

Generosity is something that has to be taught and experienced. Today, I'm sharing seven ways you can encourage generosity in your child so that they can grow up to be generous and loving adults.


7 Ways to Encourage Generosity in Your Child




Generosity is Learned

We live in a society that believes the more we have, the happier we are. It’s easy to get caught up in the stuff + more stuff = happiness equation. It would seem some people are naturally more generous but the truth is, they practiced giving until it became second nature.

Ask yourself, what feels better: Giving out of duty or a feeling of force or giving because you decided it was what you wanted to do?

If generosity is truly something we must want to do, how do we impart that onto our children?


1.       Model Generosity in Your Own Life – When you give to someone or a cause, have your child present and answer their questions about why you’re there or what you’re doing. Everything from donating clothes to attending fundraisers {if they’re appropriate for your child to attend} is a demonstration in being generous.

2.       Teach Money Skills – Giving your child an allowance is a great way to begin teaching generosity. One way is a money management system that is widely practiced with young children {but really works for any age!} When your child earns the allowance for chores, have them separate the money into three jars: Spend, Save, Give. Explain the purpose of each jar and their options for giving, spending, and what to save for.

3.       Paying it Forward – You’ve seen people do this by paying for the next person in line’s coffee but it can be as simple as holding the door open for the person behind you when someone holds the door open for you. There’s never an expectation of recognition and a simple gesture can go a long way.

write thank you note


4.       The Value of saying “Thank You” – Those two simple words hold powerful meaning. The simple act of writing thank you notes at an early age is a great way to show their appreciation for someone else’s generosity. Once again, as a model of generosity, you’re imparting your own behavior when you tell someone else thank you.

5.       Discuss the Feeling of Giving – Sharing with your child how you feel when you give gives them the chance to think about how they too would like to feel. What feelings do you have when you give money or donate to a charity? Do you feel happy, helpful? Take time to tell your child how it feels to you when you help others in need.

6.       Make Generosity Personal – It’s hard for children to understand why they’re being generous when they can’t see the results or the recipients of their kindness. Small scale generosity is easier to understand. For instance, a fundraiser for a local family or child during the holidays. Even bringing a bag of pet food to the local animal shelter and playing with the animals makes the experience more personal for children.

7.       Create Opportunities to be Generous – One thing that’s easy to forget is being generous doesn’t have to mean always giving money. There are other ways to give:

·         Give your time – volunteering (such as the animal shelter in number 6), reading to a sibling, visiting a nursing home, or participate in a community clean-up.
·         Donating – clothing, food, household items, toys.
·         Other ways – cooking for a sick friend, babysitting someone else’s children, mowing a neighbor’s lawn, taking an elderly neighbor to the store or a doctor visit.

When given the choice, most children would rather gift something to themselves. You are the biggest teaching tool in changing that instinct. Random acts of kindness, making giving a conscious choice, and practicing generosity are all keys to creating a giving generation.



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1 comment

John said...

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