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Teach your child kindness and how to “pay it forward”

Teaching your child how to "pay it forward" can help them become catalysts of kindness. Giving back helps foster generosity and compassion.

There are numerous, meaningful ways to teach your child about compassion and how to “pay it forward”, regardless of their age.

Raising kind and empathetic children in a harsh and often brutal world can be challenging. However, as parents, we must teach our children that helping others and “paying it forward” are essential to being a good and kind-hearted person.

Being kind to others and paying it forward doesn’t have to be limited to grand gestures. It’s important for kids to understand that small acts of kindness, like holding the door open for someone and donating a toy to a child in need, are just as impactful as paying it forward as are major monetary acts.

Here are a few practical suggestions to get your children started on charitable giving:

  • Give your child’s old toys, clothes, and books to a local shelter or orphanage. Bring your child with you when you drop these items off so they can see where their “stuff” is going.
  • Help your child plant a tree. Planting a tree teaches children that they can make a difference for wildlife, our soil, and the environment, thus practising kindness to nature.
  • Encourage your child to volunteer their time by visiting a retirement home or a local animal shelter.
  • Encourage your children to help others without expecting anything in return. Play a board game with a younger sibling, or unload the dishwasher for mom and dad. Small steps establish a pattern.
  • Place a visible change jar and ask everyone to give their spare change. You’d be astonished how quickly cents turn into rands. Decide what to do with the money as a family.
  • Explain the art of giving to your child, emphasising that it’s the sentiment that counts and the effort that reveals the love behind the gift.
  • Parents help develop a child’s moral compass, and it’s up to moms and dads to model these desired behaviours By participating in charitable events and random acts of kindness as a parent, you not only show your little one the joy that can come from paying it forward, but also that this value applies to everyone in the family.

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