Instilling a sense of giving can start early! Children three and under are primarily focused on themselves. A sense of giving is learned by watching grown-ups. When children observe adults share, listen or be kind to others, they learn compassion. "Giving" can mean your time or treasures. In this season of giving thanks and helping those less fortunate with food or gifts, you are modeling compassion! Even very young children can help shop, assemble and wrap donated items.
Support your philanthropic ideals via picture books, too, like The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, The Giving Box by Fred Rogers or the classic Stone Soup.
By the time children start school, they are ready to be more involved in their own philanthropic adventures, usually centering on their own interests. After hearing about our Champions campaign, two second graders donated the proceeds from their lemonade stand to the Museum. Children's charitable involvement contributes towards raising self-esteem, developing social skills, fostering an introduction to the greater world and encouraging kids to appreciate all that they have.
Make giving a family affair by encouraging your children's interests and working together. By allowing them input and decision-making, you will start them on the path of lifetime giving!
(This article first appeared in the November (2010) issue of Positively Naperville - PN Monthly. This month's featured column, Raise Your Play I.Q.® is written by Jayne Carpenter, M.S. - the Early Childhood Specialist for DuPage Children's Museum. She has degrees in Child Development and Applied and Family Child Studies. As an Early Childhood Specialist, Jayne has a diverse background with a variety of experience in museum, parent, teacher and child learning programs spanning 30 years. Contact her at the Museum or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)