There are all kinds of important values that you want to instill in your kids from a young age — and generosity is probably one of them. Having a generous heart is a big part of being a good friend, family member and person, and while generosity is a trait that many people are born with, it can also be a great idea to ensure that generosity is encouraged in your household and treated as the virtue it is. When kids see the adults they look up to modeling certain behaviors and encouraging them, they’ll be more likely to want to engage in those practices, too.
There are so many ways to teach your kids to be generous people. Often, it starts with you and your behavior. It’s all about filling your home with love, kindness and compassion. When you start with a good foundation, the rest often follows. While there are some methods of encouraging generosity that come easier than others, you can always think outside the box to give a bit of an extra push. Here are a few examples of things you can do to encourage your kids to have generous hearts.1. Model Generosity
If encouraging your kids to be generous people is important to you, chances are you’re already a kind, caring and generous person yourself. Making sure your children see your generosity on a regular basis can help ensure that they see that behavior as normalized and encouraged. You’re the best example they have, and by showing them what a generous heart looks like, you can help them find their own.2. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude and generosity are connected. By encouraging gratitude in your household, your kids will learn to consider all sides of what they have and think critically about the people who help them have all kinds of positive life experiences. Understanding that good things don’t just appear out of nowhere can help your child get the full scope. Expressing gratitude to others and talking about it regularly are great places to start.3. Get Involved In a Faith Community
Communities of faith are so often centered around generosity and giving, so it makes sense that putting your children in that environment would cultivate a pattern of generosity. No matter what kind of church or faith you find yourself in, religious teachings, stories and activities aren’t usually shy about encouraging a generous nature and reminding everyone of the positive effect it can have on the world.4. Talk About Generosity and Show Examples
This one is a point where you can truly get creative. Read scripture and religious stories if you’re heavily involved in your faith, tell personal anecdotes and life lessons, ask your children about their own generosity and even find books that mirror generous behavior you want to see in your children. While setting good examples yourself is wonderful, giving your child some additional food for thought and a place to talk about it openly can often lead to even more memorable principles.5. Be Generous With Them
Ensuring that your children see when you’re generous with others is wonderful, but one of the most direct ways for your children to understand how generosity impacts people is to feel it from the other end. As a parent looking to raise generous kids, it’s safe to say you probably already practice generosity with them. You can even communicate that to them and talk about examples from their lives. There’s nothing wrong with being clear about it when you’re a little extra generous with your children.6. Don’t Force It
As a rule of thumb, forcing kids to do things will only make those things less appealing. At the end of the day, generosity is a personal choice that comes from one’s own heart — it’s not something you can control externally, or else it loses authenticity. While it might seem like the obvious solution to say, “Share, share, that’s what’s fair!” and force their hand when your child doesn’t want to share, that could do more harm than good. If your kids see generosity as a chore or an annoying obligation, they won’t build positive associations with it. Giving them choices and encouraging without pushing are great ways to balance it out.7. Remember That Generosity Isn’t Always About Things
While generosity can often become tied to the physical act of giving, it’s important to remember and reflect on the fact that generosity comes in many forms. While generosity can come in the form of giving money or objects and physically sharing, it’s just as important to be generous with your time, your energy and your emotions. Kindness, being there for friends and showing up for those who need it are all examples of generosity. You can encourage all forms of generosity in your home.
Encouraging a Generous Heart and Spirit
Generosity is an important virtue to instill in your kids. By raising them with love and compassion, setting a good example and surrounding them with others who live in accordance with your values, your kids will surely grow up with generous hearts and giving spirits inside them.
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