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Teaching Young Children To Be Givers

Guest post from Kristen of Celebrate Every Day With Me

One of my kids’ favorite Bible stories is the feeding of the 5,000. It starts with a hungry crowd and ends with the thousands being blessed. Why? Because a little boy gave his food to Jesus and Jesus performed the miraculous: He multiplied the food given and fed the massive crowd.

My favorite part of this story? The fact that it was a boy. Not a man. But a boy who gave of what he had to bless and help others.

Somewhere in our culture (and please excuse the negativity), we have neglected to teach our children to serve others, to have a heart for other people and to think beyond ourselves. How many times have we commented about the self-entitled, self-pleasing, “all about me” world we live in?

So what can we do about it?

We can teach our children to be givers.

Even at a young age, children can begin to develop a heart for others. Just as the boy who shared his lunch was an instrument of blessing, so too can our children bless and help others. But we have to know this: if we want children who have hearts to give to others, we must be deliberate about teaching them.

How can we teach our children to be givers?

  • Be a good example. Do your kids copy you? I’ll admit, I’m not always thrilled about everything my kids model from me. Some of my faults echo through our halls in their little voices. They see and copy everything! Do your kids see you giving to others? Are you conscious of others through your words and actions? Do you make an effort to help and bless those in need or even just bring a smile to someone’s day? Your children see every little act.
  • Provide simple opportunities to learn. If you want children who are compassionate and thoughtful, provide opportunities to learn that giving to others helps and blesses the recipient. Be deliberate. Take up your neighbors’ trash can for them. Pick a bouquet of flowers and deliver the posies to the homebound. Capitalize on teachable moments and explain why giving is important.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice. When you are out and about, keep a watchful eye for opportunities to help another person. You will be amazed at the chances that exist as soon as you get around people. Your children can learn to serve in their neighborhood, community, or at church. There are even things that your children can do to help others at a global level through connections to organizations like World Vision.

The concept of developing a heart to give is a process.

Are my kids perfect? Umm, no! Spend an hour with us and you’ll find that out. But are they growing in a heart for others? You bet!

As I have been deliberate about being an example, providing opportunities and practicing giving with them, I have watched my children’s hearts change in the way they think and respond to others. We are on a journey of learning how to give.

Will you join us?

Kristen Summers is a mom to two kids who keep her busy and laughing. As a former wedding and event planner, she now blogs at Celebrate Every Day With Me about fun ideas for party planning, children’s activities, and creating memorable moments. She has just released her first ebook, Teach Me To Serve:  99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn to Serve and Bless Others. Use coupon code moneysaving30 to get 30% off the purchase of this ebook this week.

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  • Becca says:

    I love this post! My 10 years just decided to start doing a food and money drive for the backpack program at her school. We have a lot of underprivileged kids in our district and each friday the school tries to send home a backpack with each of those children with enough meals for the entire weekend. Her goal is 1500.00 and as much food as she can get people to donate. This makes my heart so happy. It is so important to teach your kids to serve others and give, give, give!

  • Jeannine says:

    These are some very good tips on teaching your children to be servants. I like the way you began the story with the boy who shared his lunch. He had faith that God would multiple it somehow and feed the multitudes. Sometimes hospitality and serving hurts. It hurts physically and financially. But, somehow at just the right moment God steps in and feeds the multitude.

    Keep nourishing that servant heart in your children.

  • Beth says:

    I was searching for a book just like this! My son is 4 and we pick a coupon/sale item every week out of our local grocery store ad to donate to the food pantry. He enjoys doing this and I was looking for other things we could do. Is the 30% off code good also on the kindle version? Thank you by the way for your blog… I enjoy seeing what new post you have everyday!

  • R says:

    Yes! I am so thrilled to hear your teaching your children to be servants and to give. The Upmost Calling! We taught our daughter to give financially and give of her time to others. She did not always enjoy it but now that she is older she sees things differently. She is older now but for many yrs. I volunteered in many areas and now she is doing the same. I wish/ hope more parents will teach there children to give not only in money/but time. It teaches kids that the world doesn’t revolve around them only. God wants us to serve! I love it!

    • Sarah McCollum says:

      Can’t say enough Amens to this!!!!!!!! Even simple things can bless others. During flu season, because of a health issue, I have to wear a mask out in public. Every year, there are at least a couple of sensitive, sweet children, who flash their biggest and brightest smile for me. And of course, there are the normal children who stare and point and say, “Mommy, why does she have that on her face?!” Whenever possible, I speak directly to the child and explain it to them. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t, depending on the parent. I got to explain to a very tiny child last year — she was probably about two years old. It’s never too early to teach your kids not only to serve but to be SENSITIVE and observant about the world around them, and the other people in it.

  • Great ideas. I struggle with this one and am always on the lookout for ways to teach my children to be grateful for what they have and to share and give. We live in a very comfortable area where most of the kids have everything they need and then some, so without being intentional about it, my kids just aren’t exposed to need. Our church did a “Day of Caring” for the community Sunday and one of my favorite parts was how all the kids helped out with their families and friends – I think they got as much out of it as the organizations and individuals we blessed!

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