I think one of the most important aspects of parenting is teaching our children to be good people who care for others.
Yes, we need to teach them how to read and write and multiply, but we should put just as much emphasis on being a good person and taking time to help those in need. Imagine a world where everyone helped each other – how great would that be?
I use every chance I get to teach my children compassion for those who are less fortunate than we are. Even the smallest of gestures can make a big difference to those in need.
There are things we take for granted – like three meals a day and a cabinet full of food. Those things are not as easy to come by for many adults and children in our own hometown.
To help teach the children, I love participating in food drives and promotions that give back to the community.
Studies show that one in eight Americans struggle with hunger, but it’s not as talked about like other issues. “Food deserts” exist all over our country – with some people living miles away from the nearest grocery store. We all know in order to make a change, we have to start coming together to talk about issues.
The kids and I recently decided to create a donation basket for our local food pantry. We filled the basket with products we love, as well as household products like paper towels and other helpful essentials.
I wanted the kids to experience the entire process, so after choosing the items they also helped deliver the basket. They carried it themselves and even told the woman in charge of donations why we were there.
While we were there I let the kids walk around and see how the food pantry is run. They had the opportunity to meet and talk to some of the people who were there to get food. After seeing how everything worked we were able to join the volunteer crew, sorting donations and putting bags of items together for pick up.
When I asked later what they thought about the experience they mentioned being surprised the people were “just like us.” It was a wonderful experience for all of us!
I felt great about showing the kids how easy it is to make a difference. Making a difference while teaching my kids compassion – I call that a total mom win.
Want to do more? Here are more great ways to help your children learn compassion and learn about charity:
20 Great Ways to Teach Kids to Give Back
Donations of Time
– Volunteer with your children at a local animal shelter.
– Have your child help an elderly neighbor by raking leaves, mowing the lawn, or taking in/out their trash and recycling cans.
– Offer to have your child collect the mail, packages, and newspaper for neighbors heading out of town.
– Let your children help take care of pets when neighbors and friends go out of town or have overwhelming times in life.
– Choose one day a month when the entire family will volunteer time at a local shelter or food bank. Try to choose a different location each month so the children can see how many different needs there are in the community.
– Volunteer to help at your children’s school and help with their sports teams. Explain to your children that it’s important to give time and energy to your community in addition to material or monetary gifts.
– Take the family to work at a soup kitchen or shelter for those in need.
– Organize a lemonade stand or bake sale with your children and donate the proceeds to a charity of their choice.
– Teach your children to spread kindness by saying something nice to another person each day or to write a thoughtful note to someone who might be lonely.
– Let your children see you modeling acts of kindness like paying for coffee for the person behind you in the drive-through or add a few coins to a stranger’s parking meter.
– Give blood regularly and consider joining bone marrow donation registry. Help your children understand why blood drives are important.
– Encourage your children to help make a casserole or put together a small gift basket for someone who is going through a tough time.
Donations of Money or Material Items
– Help your child choose one or more favorite charities. When they earn or receive money as a gift, encourage them to donate part of that money to a favorite charity.
– Help your children go through their clothing and toys to choose items for donation.
– Encourage your children to donate some of their birthday or Christmas gifts to a local children’s hospital.
– Help your children collect old blankets and towels to donate to a local animal shelter.
– Buy extra school supplies and snacks to donate to your children’s school. Let your children help choose the items and deliver everything to the school.
– Find a local retirement home that will allow your children to come in and read books or work on art projects with the residents.
– Let your children choose a few extra items when you shop for your pets. Drop the items off at an animal shelter on the way home.
– Instead of giving material gifts at the holidays, let your children help choose charities that your friends and family support. Donate money to the charities in honor of your loved ones.