Stewarding leaders in philanthropy can be easy. Taking simple steps at home to be mindful of
items that can be reused gets children in the habit of donating, and using simple saving strategies can help children understand the basics in financial literacy.
Give Away Box in the House: Having a communal box in the house to serve as a drop-off for old school supplies, toys, and clothing that are still in good condition is handy as well as easy to do. The box can be any size and you can even categorize multiple boxes according to items (i.e. school supplies, clothes, and toys). Make sure that the boxes are clean and in good condition and make sure the flaps can fold and close for delivery. Keep these boxes accessible around the house and when they are full, simply close the box and take it to the local homeless shelter or charity that can put the goods to best use. During the holidays, traditionally the most charitable time of year, families can bag up old toys and clothing they do not use or need any more if they will be getting more. Practice bagging old toys at the bottom of the toy bin and taking them to children and families in need.
Practice What You Preach: Do the adults volunteer? Don’t call a babysitter on your volunteer days. Invite your child to follow you throughout your volunteer day and encourage them to participate. Children learn the concept of sharing through experience. Watching an adult and participating alongside them in a charitable activity in their neighborhood, local community, or other place will steward the habit of care for and tune to the needs and sensitivities of others. It can be as simple as volunteering to care for a local community garden by watering and harvesting plants.
A Twist on Allowance: Do you give your children allowance? Use this opportunity to teach financial giving. Each allowance period can invite a choice between three jars, spending money, saving money, and giving money. Each allowance period children can choose how to allocate their funds to these jars. It does not have to be a large sum of give away money. It can be as simple as extra coins that take up too much space. You can practice a “matching gift”. If your child adds a dollar the adult can “match” that with a dollar in to the saving jar making two dollars that go into the jar. Your child can choose to save for as long as they want and give the money to a charity of their choice or use it to purchase something for an individual in need of that item.
Leslie Fraser is the Development Coordinator at Kidspace and has been working for the museum for just under six years. She is currently working on her Master’s in Arts Administration at Claremont Graduate University.