Teaching Little Ones to Give

21 Oct

In honor of Make a Difference Day, we’ve invited Shelley Hallier to be our guest blogger and share some ideas about giving back.

Click on the logo to find out more about Make a Difference Day. There’s even a link for on how to get your family started.

I ran into a friend at the coffee shop this morning.

Susanne, with kids in tow, was telling me about an effort she has become involved in that focuses on providing children’s books to individual children, communities, and facilities in the wake of disaster (i.e. Joplin, MO) or simply in need. It’s called Building A Bookshelf and with the mantra “A book for every child” serves children all over the country.

As she spoke I was thinking to myself, “Wow. Another really great cause. They’re everywhere.”

Because of the organization’s focus I couldn’t help but think about my own kids. We are so blessed. My oldest donates a fair amount of time to various community organizations and causes, but what about her siblings? Is three too young to try to teach a sense of community responsibility?

No, it isn’t.

I made a list of activities I can engage in with my toddler twins to introduce them to the concept of philanthropy, and the beauty and joy that come with giving.  Here are my top three:

  1. Team Toy Drive. Create the opportunity to reinforce how fortunate your child is to participate in sports. At the sports team end-of-season get-together, encourage guests to bring a gently used book or toy for donation to a local shelter or children’s charity. Take your child along when you make the drop off.
  2. Grocery Gift. Make a special trip to the grocery store with your child with the sole purpose of donating a bag or two to your local food pantry. (Not sure where it is? Call around to the local churches. Chances are you’ll find one.) Engage your child in the shopping by encouraging them to help determine what to purchase.
  3. Adopt-A-Family. The holidays are the perfect time to talk to your child about the beauty of giving. Request a family with a child or children around the age of your own little one, then encourage them to help you shop. It can be difficult for kids to go to the store and choose toys to give away, but be patient, and keep the focus on the child in need. Your little guy or girl will get the message, and their compassion may surprise you.

I know how crazy life as a busy mom can be. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s about all we can do to keep our own families taken care of. I like these three options best because they can all be accomplished with my children on a single Saturday afternoon, but may produce big yields in terms of compassion and generosity in us all.

Shelley Hallier is a Kansas City-area marketing executive who left a successful 12-year stint in the corporate realm in favor of independent consulting, after giving birth to twins in 2008. She recently released her first children’s book, “Where Does Mommy Go?” directed at busy moms and their little ones. With darling illustrations and a sweet message, the book addresses the mystery of the working mommy from the child’s perspective. It is available in hardcover at http://wheremommygoes.com or at Amazon.com.
Shelley lives in Kansas City, Mo., with her husband, Craig, and three children: Hannah, Ryne and Cassie.
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2 Responses to “Teaching Little Ones to Give”

  1. AlexisWorldTraveler October 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    I think it is so important to teach children to be generous and to encourage them to think of others that may not be as fortunate as they are. I’m doing a project with my 6 year old by using picture books on poverty and homelessness. If you get a chance stop by and check it out alexisworldtraveler.blogspot.com

    • Brenda November 1, 2011 at 11:21 am #

      What a great idea! I love using books to teach kids concepts that are hard to understand. Our kids really got the message when we visited a third world country and the local children were so excited when we gave them a ball point pen to use at their school. Keep up the great work building a compassionate child.

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