Tips for Teaching Kids about Generosity

I love this definition of "generosity" from the University of Notre Dame's Science of Generosity Project. It declares that generosity is "the virtue of giving good things to others freely and abundantly.". 

If you think deeply about this definition, three parts stand out clearly. Generosity is giving "good things", giving "freely", and giving "abundantly."

Generosity is actually an innately human survival instinct. We were designed to share resources, even during scarcity which is one of the scientific reasons why giving makes us feel so good! 

When you are holiday shopping are you scrambling to make purchases just to cross names off of your list? Do you take time to think about the true value of the gift you are giving and the person you are gifting it to? 

At a time when we are naturally focused on material items, I encourage you to think about how you give. Do you give without expecting anything in return? Are you generous in ways that go beyond physical items? You may find that the most meaningful and appreciated gifts can be as simple as an act of kindness, a coffee date or a charitable gesture.

When you are teaching kids about generosity, ask them to notice how giving feels to them. Current studies show that giving actually makes us feel far happier than receiving! 

Tips For Teaching Kids Generosity

  1. Model generosity. Let kids see you give without expecting anything in return. Perhaps you give in the form of acts of kindness, a listening ear, a warm meal or material items. When kids see us do things, they will naturally follow suit! 
  2. Let them pick a way to show generosity to others.  Maybe it's bringing canned goods to a food bank, participating in a toy drive, raising money for a cause, or even giving anonymous gifts. If they choose the mission, they will be more invested in the act and sentiment of giving.
  3. Instil gratitude. When we feel like we have enough and we are grateful for what we have we are more likely to give freely. Help kids to be thankful for the things they have by donating toys they no longer play with or clothes that no longer fit. 
  4. Show them appreciation when they are generous. The positive reinforcement will encourage them to keep giving!