Ask the Expert: Teaching Children the Art of Giving
by Kristin Cofield, Paths to QUALITY Coach
Four year old Kennisyn overheard a conversation between her parents discussing donating to the United Way of Central Indiana. Kennisyn chimed in and told her parents that she would like to donate also. Each day for one week, Kennisyn took money from her pink piggy bank to school and donated to the United Way collection jar in her class. Kennisyn even asked other family members to contribute to her classroom jar and help raise money for children in need.
Teaching children the art of giving develops kindness, compassion, and caring for others. Anne Frank said “How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” At any age, we can all make a difference in someone’s life by showing compassion through our giving, acts of service by volunteering, or other forms of community outreach.
When families make giving and volunteering a normal part of their lives they will teach their children strong core values as they demonstrate these values in action. This philosophy is also true for educators who create a classroom learning environment that introduces and encourages children to practice social tolerance and respect for all people regardless of religion, race, socioeconomic status, gender, age, etc. There are many creative ways families and educators can teach children the art of giving. The following are a few thoughtful ideas for families and educators to help children become involved in their local community.
- Thinking of You: Have children draw or paint a picture of their choice; frame the picture and give to a local hospital where the patients are fighting a terminal illness. Sometimes knowing that someone is thinking of you gives these patients hope to continue fighting their illness.
- Charitable Giving: Children can raise money through a lemonade stand; bake sale, art sale, etc. Allow the children to choose an organization and donate the proceeds to that organization.
- Acts of Service: Ask family, friends, and classmates to donate items to create care packages for the homeless. Donations may include food such as crackers, packaged fruit, or water; personal hygiene items such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste; socks, hat and gloves, etc. Allow the children to help pack the sack lunches or care bags.
A simple Google search will generate many other ideas to help families and educators teach children the art of giving. So search away and make giving and volunteering fun for the children in your life. Follow the child’s interest and remember no deed is too small when the act of service stems from a heart full of kindness, compassion and most importantly, love for humanity.