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  • People and Places

Tips for teaching kids generosity

My 6-year-old came home from school last week with two envelopes. One was for a donation to help people in the Philippines. The other was to help hungry families have a holiday meal.

“I’ll put a check in each of these. Then you can add your own money from your piggy bank, OK?” I said, thinking he’d be so excited to put his own stamp on things.

“That’s OK, Mom. You put money in. I don’t want to waste mine,” he sweetly sang as he colored. “I want to fill my bank all the way up.”


“There’s a big disconnect between the people ‘over there’ and my piggy bank,” says Vicki Hoefle, a parenting educator and author of “Duct Tape Parenting.”

She says teaching children about donating their own money or toys or time “should be a gentle introduction into what we hope will be a way of life for our kids.”

She suggests these things to help children understand the importance of giving:

•Just talk about it. Then explore the issue from a perspective he can understand.

•Use the course of a year to introduce kids to opportunities. That way, they won’t be shocked when you ask them to stuff their own money into an envelope.

•Give kids a small amount of money on a regular basis, then teach them to save some, spend some and give some away.

•Pick a family charity for the year and talk about how you all can help throughout the year.

•Think of this not as something you must teach but as something to expose them to.

– Amy Joyce, Washington Post