6 ways to teach your kids about giving

July 16, 2021

Children are more likely to give when it’s part of how their parents live.

 

Leading by example is a powerful way to get your kids involved in charitable giving from an early age. In fact, studies show that when parents give to charity, their children are more likely to give to charity, too.1

Statistics aside, finding ways to inspire your children to be generous does take some thoughtful planning. Here are some simple ways to get the ball rolling.

 

1. Create space for gratitude and giving


On a regular basis, let your child hear you express your:

  • Gratitude for what you have
  • Commitment to helping others
  • Interest in what your child is grateful for and how they want to help others
     

Mealtime and bedtime offer great opportunities for sparking these conversations. Show your child that their voice is welcome when it comes to how, when, and where your family chooses to give. From here, you can even segue into “money moments,” discussing how charitable giving fits into an overall household budget and why you value being able to give back.

 

2. Weave charitable giving into everyday activities


Why not throw a children’s party for a cause? For example, you could ask guests (and their families) to bring a few shelf-stable products to the party that can be donated to your local food bank. Or host a bake sale with proceeds going to a charity of your child’s choice.

You can also let your child pick out which of their outgrown clothes and toys they’d like to donate to charity when you go through your own belongings. Events and activities like these let your child build positive associations with the practice of giving and experience first-hand the joy of sharing what they have, with the goal of helping someone else. Plus, by keeping the focus on action vs. ideals, children learn on their own how to spot opportunities to help others.

 

3. Catch your kids in acts of kindness


Start noticing ways your child naturally displays a giving nature. Maybe they share their toy without being asked, or help a new classmate get on the right bus. When you see these positive behaviors in action, use them as opportunities to talk to your child.

  • Tell them how proud you are of their choices
  • Find out what inspired them to act in that moment
  • Ask how it felt for them to demonstrate kindness and generosity
  • Share how much they have inspired you to be kind and generous
     

Telling your child that you notice when they help others reinforces the value of those actions.

 

4. Show them that financial donations are just one way to contribute


Lending your skills and/or time to a cause can be every bit as meaningful as a financial contribution. Charitable organizations and nonprofits often need volunteers to help serve clients, manage operations and more.

When you find the right fit for the interests and skills of you and your child, you gain a memorable, meaningful way to spend time together. Your child sees members of a community rallying around a shared cause, and the whole practice becomes more tangible.

 

5. Be a good neighbor


Let your child see you reach out when someone needs a helping hand. The gesture can be as simple as gathering a neighbor’s mail while they travel. Or caring for the kids of a single parent so they can get to a job interview.

As your children observe your day-to-day generosity, they learn that acts of service, large and small, can create stronger, more resilient communities. And they see that needing and receiving help is also a normal part of life.

 

6. Turn charitable giving into a family affair


Maybe you already have certain causes and charities that are close to your heart. Let your child in on important details, such as:

  • Why the cause is important to you
  • How you chose it over other causes
  • How long you’ve been giving to the cause
  • How often you contribute, and how much (if appropriate)
  • Where the money goes: Research? Education? Operating costs?
     

Next, give your child an opportunity to choose their own cause. You can also check Charity Navigator for information on top-rated charities and tips for giving wisely.

Finally, track your shared progress as a family. Once each month or quarter, hold an informal meeting to celebrate any positive news on specific campaigns or issues your family contributes to. If your kids are old enough, let them speak about how their charities are doing. Keep the gathering light and fun so it’s something everyone looks forward to. You can also use that meeting to decide whether you’d like to keep giving to the same organizations or switch to something new.

 

When you discuss the value of gratitude, generosity, and helping others from a young age – and let your children in on different ways to give back – you set them up to become adults who can give back in meaningful ways.

 

With more than 1 million public charities in the U.S., finding one to support can be intimidating. Here are 4 steps to finding a charity to support that’s right for you.

Related content

Why year-round giving is important

4 steps to finding a charity to support

6 ways to teach your child about charitable giving

Helpful tips for safe and smart charitable giving

Practical money tips we've learned from our dads

1Transmitting Generosity to Daughters and Sons. Women’s Philanthropy Institute. 2018.

Start of disclosure content

Investment and insurance products and services including annuities are:
Not a deposit ● Not FDIC insured ● May lose value ● Not bank guaranteed ● Not insured by any federal government agency.

U.S. Wealth Management – U.S. Bank | U.S. Bancorp Investments is the marketing logo for U.S. Bank and its affiliate U.S. Bancorp Investments.

The information provided represents the opinion of U.S. Bank and U.S. Bancorp Investments and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or guarantee of future results. It is not intended to provide specific investment advice and should not be construed as an offering of securities or recommendation to invest. Not for use as a primary basis of investment decisions. Not to be construed to meet the needs of any particular investor. Not a representation or solicitation or an offer to sell/buy any security. Investors should consult with their investment professional for advice concerning their particular situation.

U.S. Bank, U.S. Bancorp Investments and their representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Each individual's tax and financial situation is unique. You should consult your tax and/or legal advisor for advice and information concerning your particular situation.

For U.S. Bank:

U.S. Bank does not offer insurance products but may refer you to an affiliated or third party insurance provider.

U.S. Bank is not responsible for and does not guarantee the products, services or performance of U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc.

For U.S. Bancorp Investments:

Investment and insurance products and services including annuities are available through U.S. Bancorp Investments, the marketing name for U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC, an investment adviser and a brokerage subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp and affiliate of U.S. Bank.

U.S. Bancorp Investments is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as both a broker-dealer and an investment adviser. To understand how brokerage and investment advisory services and fees differ, the Client Relationship Summary and Regulation Best Interest Disclosure are available for you to review.

Insurance products are available through various affiliated non-bank insurance agencies, which are U.S. Bancorp subsidiaries. Products may not be available in all states. CA Insurance License #0E24641.

Pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, U.S. Bancorp Investments must provide clients with certain financial information. The U.S. Bancorp Investments Statement of Financial Condition is available for you to review, print and download.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rule 2267 provides for BrokerCheck to allow investors to learn about the professional background, business practices, and conduct of FINRA member firms or their brokers. To request such information, contact FINRA toll-free at 1-800‐289‐9999 or via https://brokercheck.finra.org. An investor brochure describing BrokerCheck is also available through FINRA.

U.S. Bancorp Investments Order Processing Information.