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Teaching Kids the Importance of Giving Back

It’s always been my strong belief that giving back to others is an essential part of living life to the fullest. Giving back has always been a huge part of my life, and I especially love helping out my village!

It’s always been my strong belief that giving back to others is an essential part of living life to the fullest. Giving back has always been a huge part of my life, and I especially love helping out my village! 

Helping others in need and learning how to express gratitude and thankfulness not only tells those around us that we care but when we all do it — the world becomes a better place! I’m so thankful that my village not only taught me the importance of this but showed me how to put philanthropy into action. 

I’ve put together this resource to help you mamas get started on explaining to your little ones the ‘why’ behind giving back, as well as the ‘how.’ 

The ‘Why’

I’m sure many of us grew up having our parents or an adult figure tell us what to do without fully explaining the ‘why’ behind it. We know it’s essential to teach our kiddos that charitable work is important, but mamas also have to help them understand why giving back matters. By fully understanding the purpose behind it, kids can develop emotional intelligence, empathy, tolerance, sympathy, compassion, a sense of duty and responsibility, and so much more. 

One of my favorite parts of giving back is it gives you and your little ones the chance to bond with each other — and with your village. Whether you’re bringing warm meals to your neighbors or volunteering at a local shelter, your child will get all the warm and fuzzy feelings when they see how their compassion helps someone in need! 

The ‘How’

Ok so how do we put giving back into practice with kiddos? I always recommend starting early – the earlier they learn to give back, the more likely they are to continue into adulthood! 

There are plenty of wonderful ways we can teach our little ones to give back year-round. Start with sharing some ideas and see what they want to do. If they feel passionate about a specific charitable activity, they’re guaranteed to enjoy the experience even more! 

So how can we show them? Here are a few of my favorite ideas to get you started:

  • Write letters to their village: It’s time to get out some old-fashioned pen and paper, gals! I think it’s so heartfelt for little ones to write letters and make cards for people in their village to show their appreciation. Whether it’s for grandparents, a friend or neighbor, handwritten letters are special to receive and are such an easy way to show gratitude for your village. Plus, your little ones will have a blast getting crafty and creative with their cards!
  • Donate old toys/clothes: Kids grow up so fast — too fast, am I right? And I bet your family has tons of clothes and toys that your kiddos have outgrown. So why not give them to someone in need? Make a day of going through your little one’s room with them and picking out items they no longer want! There are so many amazing local organizations that accept donations, so the options are endless. You can also ask people in your village if they could use any of the items! They’ll be so grateful for your support.
  • Create a thankfulness-themed craft: Who doesn’t love crafts with their kiddos? Whether it’s creating a thankfulness-themed turkey handprint cut-out for Thanksgiving, constructing a tree to hang on tags with things we’re grateful for, or playing a DIY game with gratitude in mind, crafts are a great way to teach children the benefits of giving back. Here are a few of my favorite crafts to teach thankfulness. Bonus: Gift your little ones’ completed crafts to your village and see their faces light up!
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen, food pantry or other community group: There’s nothing like helping out a local shelter or community group to give you all the warm and fuzzy feelings! Volunteering is a great way to be a positive role model for your kiddo because it’s an opportunity to see the importance of serving others in real-time. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to show your little one that we do things for others not to get something in return, but because it serves a bigger purpose of helping others. Find something that sounds fun and low-maintenance to start — be it cleaning out your cupboards or serving soup. You can even ask your kiddo if they have any ideas on how to volunteer! I guarantee there is something you and your child can do.

  • Raise money for a cause: This concept is so easy for kids of all ages, with so many options available. You can set up a lemonade stand (or hot chocolate stand, if it’s too cold out) and donate your proceeds, ask for collections for a local organization door-to-door or by leaving a jar at a local business. Raising money to give it away is a great lesson for your child in being charitable and caring about a cause!
  • Help a neighbor or relative in need: I love this idea because it’s so simple and it directly involves supporting the people around you — aka your village! This could include shoveling snow or helping to pull weeds for an elderly neighbor or grandparent, getting mail or pet sitting, or helping to fill in any gaps for those in need. Maybe Grandma broke her foot and needs help getting groceries — that’s something you can do! This shows kids that it’s important to take care of your family, friends and community — and that when you’re in need, they’ll take care of you.
  • Create a gratitude journal: This is one of my absolute favorites because it works for both kiddos and mamas! All this requires is paper and something to write with — you can use a notebook and pen, or make it festive with crayons, markers and stickers. How easy is that? The idea is to set aside time each day to reflect on the things in your life that made you grateful that day, then write them down. I like to start with three to five items, but I’ll sometimes pick a ‘Top 10.’ While one day’s gratitude entry may include “mommy and daddy,” another could include “ice cream.” It’s all about teaching the meaning of the word ‘gratitude’ and showing perspective. You can also share this with your village and spread gratitude!

How do you teach your kiddos to give back to their village? I’d love to hear your ideas — DM me on Instagram with your tips!