How to Involve Kids in Giving Back

As the winter holidays approach, so too does the season of giving. Teaching our children how about giving back is an important parental responsibility. However, being responsible for such an important life lesson can also feel overwhelming! To help inspire you, I am sharing some tips and ideas for involving your kids in giving back. Let’s join together to teach the next generation of change-makers how to give back!

Donation Box

Start with Giving Tuesday

No idea where to start with giving back? Look no further than Giving Tuesday! This special day is celebrated annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Created in 2012, Giving Tuesday was started to simply inspire people to do good, which makes it the perfect day to involve children. Talk with your children about this unique day, and let them know there are multiple ways to give: monetary donations, volunteering, or simply using your voice to encourage others to get involved. Next, ask what ideas they have to participate in Giving Tuesday! Their ideas and creativity just might surprise you.

Let Your Children Guide the Way

When involving children in giving back, one piece of advice is to let your kiddos guide the way. Show your kids that you can break the process of giving down into four actions steps: 

  1. Discuss with your child the passions they have for creating change in our world. Are they interested in keeping the environment clean, helping children in need, or making sure people have food?  
  2. Next, guide children to organizations that work to make a change in the area of their passions. Check out the organization’s website to see what its greatest needs are. 
  3. Finally, work with your children to make a giving plan. Let your child think of ways to raise funds, take them shopping for donations and let them choose all of the items, or show them how to sign up to volunteer. Remember that not all giving back involves money.
  4. GIVE!

Lemonade Stand

Create For a Cause

If you are looking for a hands-on way to get your children involved, consider the idea of creating for a cause! While this approach to giving is a little more involved, you will also be teaching your children the values of hard work, selflessness, and goodwill. Once you have decided on your plan of action, let all of your friends and family know to help spread the word. When your activity has commenced, donate the funds raised to your charity of choice. Here are some ways you could work with your children to create for a cause:

  • Host a lemonade stand. 
  • Host a neighborhood bake sale.
  • Choose a simple craft for your children to create, then sell the items to raise funds.
  • Work together to learn a new skill (such as knitting, sewing, painting, etc.). Spend time creating items, then host a virtual art sale on Facebook!


Keep it Simple

Coming up with big and elaborate plans can be fun, but keeping it simple can often be just as special. If this is your first year involving your children in giving back, or if you have young children, including them in one small part of the process is setting the foundation for future years of giving back. Keeping it simple also makes giving back easier to incorporate into busy schedules, and during busy holiday seasons. Here are some ideas for giving back in simple ways:

  • Do an act of kindness with your children for a neighbor – such as rake leaves, shovel snow, or do a grocery pick-up for them.
  • Volunteer together at a local shelter. 
  • Have your children choose a few of their possessions to donate to local organizations such as foster care closets or shelters.
  • Return your pop bottles to the store, and cash out the money to use for a donation.
  • Purchase some canned goods to donate to a food bank.
  • Have your toddler place new items (such as diaper packages) in a local collection box.

No matter how simple or grandiose you choose to go, involving your child in giving back is impactful. Whether you volunteer time, money, or a voice, teaching your child the importance of giving is truly priceless. In the famous words of Aesop, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Elizabeth Spisich
Elizabeth lives in Jackson, Michigan, with her husband and two sons. She has worn many hats throughout the years: Elementary school teacher (so.many.apples), photographer (bride and baby wrangler), mother of two boys (more coffee, please!), and proud MSU alum (GO GREEN!). Elizabeth currently balances being a stay-at-home mom while growing her small business, Wonder and Wander - Jackson. When she's not encouraging her children to put the screens away to go outside, you can find her trying to make others laugh and doing what she can to make the world a more beautiful place.


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