EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 7, 2014

Teach children to be charitable

It is often during times of extreme devastation when children first see how communities can join together to help one another. Such efforts may be a child’s initial exposure to charity, highlighting the importance of putting another person’s needs before your own.

However, children can be exposed to charity before tragedy strikes. Teaching children to be charitable is one of the ways to help them become good citizens of the world. By helping others, parents can instill early on lessons of kindness, empathy and compassion into their sons and daughters. Children who are ready and willing to lend a helping hand may grow up to be more appreciative of what they have in their own lives. What’s more, they may learn to be selfless while assigning less value to material things.

Youngsters who repeatedly see their own parents and other role models doing good and lending a helping hand may be more inclined to repeat that behavior, and giving will be the norm for them rather than the exception.

Use these tips to get started on your charitable experiences.

Start locally. There are people right in your own community or on the street where you live who can benefit from a helping hand. Ask an elderly neighbor if he or she needs assistance with shopping for groceries or could benefit from your child taking in the garbage cans after pickup. Children can help shovel snow from sidewalks or do other age-appropriate tasks, such as place a carelessly strewn newspaper closer to a neighbor’s door.

Volunteer as a family. The entire family can get together and spend time working at a community-sponsored carnival or cleaning debris from an area beach. Volunteer work may be available at your child’s school, where families can plant gardens around the property. When volunteering as a family, not only is your entire family helping to do good, but you’re spending quality time together as well.

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