Kids and charity: How to teach them about giving back

Kinderling News & Features

Want your kids to learn about helping others but not sure where to start? Ruth Tofler Reisel is the Co-founder & Director of the organisation Kids Giving Back and she has plenty of great ideas to kick off that charitable streak.

Listen to Ruth on Kinderling Conversation:

From volunteering with mum and dad to researching charities (when they’re older), here’s five feel-good tips that will make a difference - to your family and society. 

1. Every family is different when it comes to charity

The first thing Ruth stresses is that there’s no one way for a family to give back. Some might like the idea of volunteering for a local cause, others might prefer donating to a charity on a monthly or one-off basis. It all helps and needs to be the right fit for the family.

“I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way," says Ruth. "Every family finds their own way to do it in the culture of their family and bring a sense of awareness to their kids."

2. Be a role model 

Ruth says a great first step to teach children about charity and giving back is to role model that behaviour yourself. So you could take them to an age-appropriate event, like a local environmental cause or a charity fundraiser such as a food/clothes drive. That way your kids get to see what you do and how it helps others.

3. Discuss the act and how you’re making a difference

“What’s really important beside role modelling is actually talking about (the act) with your kids,” explains Ruth. “Studies show that conversations that happen in conjunction with the activity really make a difference and that’s where the learning takes place.”

To keep them motivated, Ruth advises showing them the tangible results of the good it’s doing.  

“Kids want to see that they’re making a difference, so even a certificate of appreciation from an organisation that they’ve supported is something that’s tangible in addition to the discussion.”

4. Allocate a part of their pocket money to 'sharing'

We love this idea! When your little ones are big enough to get an allowance, Ruth suggests dividing it into three parts for spending, saving and sharing. The last could go to charity, or even a friend or sibling, but it's all about teaching them the value of giving and helping others out. 

5. Let them research charities to help

If you want your kids to get more involved as they get older, Ruth suggests letting them choose which charities to give to. It’s an awesome idea she does with her own teenage son.

“Every school holidays, I say to him we have this amount of money and want you to do some research and decide on three different charities that we want to support,” she explains. “It’s a token amount but it’s teaching him to do some informed giving.”

Listen to our new podcast Your Family, Your Money

Get your finances sorted with invaluable advice from money experts and mums Caitlin Fitzsimmons and Georgina Dent.