I have a toddler. So naturally, I’m working on teaching her about kindness and sharing. But I also want her to become a kind, empathetic, generous child who grows up caring about others.
By Rachael Boyer
Besides the fact that the Bible tells us to be compassionate and generous to those in poverty, there’s also scientific research that shows that generosity releases happiness endorphins to our brain, reduces stress, and extends our life.
I asked other moms, a teacher, a children’s minister, and a school psychologist for advice on how to raise a kind, generous child, and three themes emerged.
- Do it yourself – Children will watch and copy what you do.
- Talk about it – Point out when others are generous. Explain how God is generous with us, and we should be generous with others.
- Encourage it – Look for opportunities to help your children practice being generous and doing things for others.
Check out the age-appropriate strategies below. Many of these ideas were formative and influential for me as a child and teen, and my husband and I plan on trying them out with our family.
As a kid, earning an allowance and using the save/spend/give jars gave me a good foundation for understanding money. My parents also explained to me that my money wasn’t really “my” money – it’s God’s money, and I have to steward it well (like in the parable of the talents in Matthew 5).
My family had always a sponsored child through World Vision. As soon as I had a regular income after college, I began sponsoring children on my own. My parents modeled generosity in many ways, and giving became a habit for me too.