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This Financial Literacy Month, Union Savings Bank has covered tips and advice for teaching the kids in our lives about the value of hard work, saving money earned from a job well done and how to budget for everything from toys to college tuition. For the remainder of Financial Literacy Month, we will discuss the importance of giving back to those in need, and how to make helping others a priority for the kids in your life with some great charity ideas for kids.

See It in Action

Explaining how money can help support a charity or an individual in need can be a complex idea for a young child to grasp, particularly if they do not yet understand how money is saved and budgeted. Starting around age 3-4, children can begin to understand how their actions affect those around them, which makes it the perfect time to introduce the concept of volunteering for kids. Include young kids in your own volunteer efforts when possible to show them the impact of helping others. If you visit a nursing home or shelter, consider having the kids on your life draw pictures for the residents. Bring the kids along on your next visit, and let them see the positive impact their creative expression can have on someone.

As kids get older, they can have more direct involvement with charitable organizations. One great charity idea for kids is to ask them to sort through their clothes and toys to find items that they no longer use, and invite them to choose where they are donated. Talk to the kids in your life about why they think giving back is important, and explore how their own talents can be used to help others. For example, children interested in music could perform at a local senior center after school. An art class could create decorations for patients at a nearby hospital.

Practice the 1-1-1 Rule

Earlier this month, we discussed how teaching children about the 1-1-1 rule when saving money can help them understand the importance of giving back. As the kids in your life begin taking on more responsibilities, one good charity idea for kids is to reinforce the 1-1-1 rule to establish positive habits for saving, spending and donating to charitable causes. Giving the kids in your life the choice of where part of their allowance or wages are donated is a great way to ensure that charity remains a part of their lives even after they’ve moved out or graduated.

Consider asking the kids in your life to explore and donate to or volunteer with more than one charity. After all, just as their interests change as they age, so does their understanding of the world around them. Organizations that serve the local community are good places to start for young children. As they get older, they may want to explore causes that benefit people across the country or from different walks of life. Whether through monetary donations or volunteering, kids of all ages can benefit from applying the 1-1-1 rule.

Celebrate the Good

Positively reinforcing any good behavior is a good way to make sure it happens again. The same is true when it comes to recognizing the charitable and volunteer opportunities the kids in your life get involved in. Giving away part of their allowance or a few hours on a weekend might not be instinctive for most kids, but when they get the chance to see how their actions impact those in need, giving back can become an anticipated activity.

Set an example for the kids in your life by recognizing others’ efforts, too. From fellow teachers to neighbors and parents, take the time to talk about giving back in front of the kids in your life to show them how everyone’s efforts can make a big difference.

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