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Kids and Money: Encourage Philanthropy

Many of us feel that giving is an important part of planning for financial success. When teaching our kids about money [3], it is vital that we remember to address the value of giving. Few of us want our children to grow up stingy toward those in need. We want to see them involving themselves in philanthropic efforts, and helping others.

Children can learn to give to others [4]. Indeed, just as it is important to start teaching them about other money habits as early as possible, giving is an important habit to instill in young children. Here are some ideas for helping your child learn to be a gracious giver:

Set the Example

First of all, your children need to see you giving. I let my son see that I write tithing checks to my church, and that I give to the food bank. Even better, I bring my son with me to donate items to the local thrift store and to the food bank. That way, he sees that giving is important to me. His father is a great volunteer, sharing his time with many people who need his help. My son sees that, and wants to join in.

Indeed, when you set the example of giving, your children are more likely to want to join you. Invite your kids to come with you if appropriate, and they will enjoy giving all the more, since they associate it with positive feelings of family unity.

Let Your Child Choose Something Interesting

In addition to letting your child see what you are interested in, you can let him or her choose something that is interesting. Look at different organizations online or in your local area to see what they accomplish, and let your child decide what he or she would like to support them. After visiting different museums, my son thinks that it is important to support them. When we visited a small local museum while on staycation not too long ago, he insisted that he put some of his own money in the collection box. He also thinks it’s important to support our local zoo, and so together we donate when we visit.

Show your child how his or her passions can help others, and let him or her decide where some of the money goes. Your child will feel more invested in giving, and there is a good chance that philanthropy will be of greater interest later in life.

Explain Your Good Fortune, and How You Can Use it To Help Others

My son is old enough to understand that we have more than some of his friends. We explain to him, as we give, that we are fortunate, and we should use some of our good fortune to help others who may not have as much. We point out that not everyone has had the education and opportunities that we enjoy, and that we should help out. Additionally, we point out that we enjoy the services offered by different organizations, such as the zoo, museums and his school. Since we enjoy these things, we should give what we can to help keep them running. My son understands this, and he likes to help others. He understands duty, and we make sure he knows that philanthropy and giving are part of discharging a duty.