How to Get Your Kids Excited About Charitable Giving
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Charitable giving opportunities are a great way to teach your children about philanthropy.

All parents want their kids to grow up to be respectful and respectable people, and getting them interested in philanthropy is one way to set them on that path.

The mother of two teenagers, Michele Byington, Vice President and Wealth Advisor with Regions Private Wealth Management in Orlando, Fla., shares some tips that helped get her children excited about charitable giving.

Choose Charitable Organizations the Whole Family Understands

Byington recommends discussing each family member’s various interests and determining one or two common elements. Then research age-appropriate volunteer opportunities available in your area, and narrow the list from there.

Once you determine an organization or cause, discuss how each family member can volunteer and whether you can use family celebrations like birthday parties to request donations in lieu of gifts.

“Many charities survive because of the volunteers that serve them. Doing these activities together will also bring you closer as a family. Search your favorite charity’s website for kid or teen experiences,” Byington says.

Take Into Account Your Children’s Ages

Age is important to consider, Byington says, because young kids may not feel connected to a particular organization and might feel bored if they don’t fully understand what’s going on or how their service helps others.

“For younger kids, sponsor a family at a local homeless shelter with children around the same age as your own. Have your children assist with the items to buy, and have them help wrap and deliver the gifts,” Byington says.

For older children, mission trips can be great. “Teenagers are at a perfect age for mission-oriented trips that provide a safe environment for an eye-opening experience,” Byington says. “Numerous opportunities through religious and cultural organizations are available in the U.S. and abroad.”

Make Charitable Giving a Family Tradition

Whether it’s something you do once a month or every year, create a tradition that will show your children that it’s a part of life. “Participating in awareness runs or walks is a great way to have a fun recurring family event,” Byington says.

Her family also donates food items to schools or churches for local food pantries. “At our grocery store, we always do the buy one, get one free deals. We donate the second item. The whole family knows that’s what we do and are accustomed to it,” she says.

Give Your Children Input

“Ultimately, your children will see what you do and mirror that. If you want to get them into volunteering, lead by example,” Byington says.

Once the groundwork is laid, children will eventually find what they’re passionate about. It may be similar to what you’re passionate about, or it may be completely different. The key is to let them decide.

Getting your kids excited about philanthropic work doesn’t need to be complicated. A simple conversation about helping people and volunteering as a family will show your children that it’s important to you — and will eventually become just as important to them.

Check out other tips on how to talk about important values and share your wisdom with your children.

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This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.