Kids are little sponges. Besides being full of germs, they absorb everything. So it’s never too early or late to teach kids philanthropy. Compassion for others. Empathy. Show them as much goodness as possible, and let them soak it all in.
If you’re looking for a handful of tangible ways to teach your teen, grow your giver, or inspire your infant (OK, probably a bit early for that one), look no further than below. Heck, you can even weave these into your family’s new year’s resolutions, along with finding your new way to volunteer.
We at United Way of King County are all about inspiring people to envision change and get involved to make that change a reality. And we want to help you start that at home.
5 Ways to Encourage Kids’ Philanthropy
- Buy a backpack and other items in Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission’s gift catalog. Letting your child help purchase a meal for someone in need is a great way to build their sense of philanthropy. Find your nearest Seattle Union Gospel Mission programs and services locations to drive it home.
- Next shopping trip, let your little one pick out warm fuzzy socks, a blanket or other usual suspects winter shelters need. You can even do this online by Google-searching your favorite nonprofit and seeing if it has a wish list. Some nonprofits have Amazon wish lists too. Share with your child why someone might need the items you purchase. (Here are 14 tips for explaining homelessness and poverty to kids from our grantee and friend nonprofit Wellspring Family Services.)
- Match their money. For every dollar or quarter your kidlet philanthropist wants to donate, ante up with your own. Match it or double it, even. Keep it in a jar in a visible spot in your home as a reminder. At the end of each month, donate it together. You can even donate it in honor or memory of a loved one.
- Pick out some seeds. That’s right, seeds! And not just seeds of philanthropic wonderment. The dreary weather means we’re all already excited for spring. And that means garden time. What’s better than your kids growing their own veggies? Your kids growing their own veggies to give to someone who’s hungry! Get free seeds and learn more about the give-and-grow movement from our grantee and friend nonprofit Solid Ground.
- Call up your college kid and tell them about Emerging Leaders. It’s all about cultivating philanthropy and doing good in our community. And a bonus, Emerging Leaders are far from that “wrong crowd,” so you can rest easy. And another bonus, volunteering is a great way to set their resume apart in job hunts.
BONUS: Adopt a family until Dec. 17! If you miss that deadline, write yourself a reminder on your 2017 calendar. November 1 is a great day to start thinking about it.
Move over, Kid President. Kid Philanthropist, Puget Sound Edition, has the mic. And cheers to you parents and guardians for taking action. You’re creating the next generation of do-gooders in our community and our world.