1. Make birthday parties charitable. Many kids have houses full of toys, electronics, and clothes; turn birthday parties into a fun way to teach children the value of charity and keep your house from more clutter. Sit down with your child before the party and pick a charity that they are excited about. For example, if they love animals look into the Humane Society, if they love other kids look into Make a Wish, have a sports fanatic…check out the Special Olympics. Once you and your child have picked a charity, ask you guests for donations rather then presents. Your child will take pride and enjoy watching how much money they can raise for a good cause.
2. Donate Clothes. Children grow fast! Instead of waiting for the kids to be out of the house to go through your closets, have them get involved in the process. Pull items that your kids no longer wear and/or have outgrown. Go with your kids to The Salvation Army or another organization and give clothes to those who can’t afford to buy new clothes.
3. Volunteer in the community. There are plenty of opportunities for charity right in your neighborhood. Rake the leaves for the neighbors. Deliver fresh cookies to the elderly or service workers, including postal carriers, groundskeepers and handymen. Offer to pick up groceries for someone who is under the weather. Drop off food at a local homeless shelter. Help sort essential items for the troops in service. The possibilities are endless.
4. Teach goodwill. When children are old enough to earn an allowance, teach them that with money comes responsibility. Create a “charity” jar to keep in your home. Every week when your child earns their allowance give them the opportunity to give a portion of it to the jar and keep the same amount…or a little more for themselves. Explain that it does not have to be a large amount, 50 cents or $1.00 at a time. At the end 1 month (3 months, 6 months, whatever works for you), sit down together and pick a charity to donate the money. This teaches that giving back should be a constant, year-round activity. It also shows your kids that there are many different options and organizations to choose from. If you prefer, you can also pick an item to buy and donate (ex. in winter donate a pair of warm gloves to a coat drive).
5. Raise money with a lemonade stand. This classic is always a fun activity! All sales proceeds should go your child’s charity of choice! Your kids will have fun, be occupied for the day and bring in lots of money for a good cause.
It is never too early for kids to be involved with helping others. Giving back and volunteering is a great way to foster positive developments, teach meaningful lessons and have great family fun! What are you waiting for? Go ahead and get started!