Teach your child the art of ‘pay it forward’

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Raising compassionate children in a harsh and often cruel world can be a challenge. But, as parents, it is important that we teach our children that helping others and “paying it forward” is the key to being a good and caring person.

Like most values, giving is something we need to help children understand. Teach them that giving a gift is thoughtful and takes time and patience. Modeling, coaching and active participation of our children instills the habit.

Here are some practical tips that can help your family start giving charitable giving and stepping out of their normal comfort zone:

  • Donate old toys, clothes and books to a school or nursery in your area. Take the kids with you when you drop it off, so they can get a real feel for where their “stuff” is going.
  • Volunteer your time and go visit a nursing home or the local animal shelter. Make sure your kids are old enough that they don’t feel sad or stressed about this situation.
  • Encourage your children to help someone without expecting anything in return. Walk the neighbor’s dog, play a board game with a younger sibling, or unpack the dishwasher for mom and dad. Small steps define the trend.
  • Set up a jar of change in a visible place and ask everyone to bring their small change. You would be surprised how quickly the cents add up to Rand. As a family, decide what to do with the money.
  • Encourage even the little ones to give something as a gift. Whether it’s a pencil painting in a pasta decorated frame or just a heartfelt handwritten note, it really is the thought that counts and the effort that reflects the love behind the gift.


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