How can I teach my children about giving?

Joseph Lee, CFP®
Lee Financial Planning

Lee Financial Planning provides highly personalized guidance to help clients navigate life's challenges. We specialize in helping prepare for life's unexpected events and setting a course toward fulfilling and secure retirements.

teaching giving can make your children's lives more fulfilling 
  • All children are born with an instinct to be generous. In fact, not only does charitable giving help create a better world, but studies have shown that people who are generous are actually happier and more fulfilled than people who are focused on their own materialistic gain.1

  • But teaching the importance of generosity and philanthropy, and creating a strong family culture of giving back, can sometimes be a challenge when our culture celebrates hyper-consumption. 

Giving gives back

What are some strategies to teach giving to future generations?
Celebrate giving back during holidays

Create a tradition of making an important charitable donation around birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holidays. Talk to young children about how giving away a toy or book is an important way to celebrate a holiday.

Help neighbors and friends

Being generous to those around you can help instill empathy in children. Raking leaves or tending the garden of an elderly neighbor or baking a cake for a friend can help demonstrate how small acts of kindness can bring great happiness.

Create a family giving fund

This can start as a “family giving jar” when children are young, where they can contribute a portion of their allowance. When the jar is full the family can decide together where to donate the money. When your children are adults, this can include a fund or trust that all family members contribute to, and then discuss and vote on where to donate over family holidays.

Volunteer together

Brainstorm with your children about where they most want to contribute their time, then block out some time to volunteer as a family. Capping the experience with a celebratory pizza or ice cream can make it even more rewarding.

Find giving opportunities that align with your family's values and interests

If your child is learning to play the violin, consider donations to the local orchestra. Or if she is passionate about animals and nature, help her learn about conservation causes. Match the amount of giving, whether money or time, to your family’s resources. 

I would like to learn more about...

Talking with my children or other family members about giving

Developing financial strategies to optimize family giving

Helping balance family giving and philanthropy with other financial needs

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1. Time, "Being Generous Really Does Make You Happier." July 14, 2017

This publication is designed to provide general information and is for discussion purposes only. The effectiveness of any strategy is dependent upon each individual’s facts and circumstances. This article does not provide legal, tax or account advice. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error, the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information is not guaranteed.