Teach­ing kids to give back

The McLeod River Post - - Viewpoint - This col­umn, writ­ten and pub­lished by In­vestors Group Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Inc. (in Québec – a Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Firm), and In­vestors Group Se­cu­ri­ties Inc. (in Québec, a firm in Fi­nan­cial Plan­ning) presents gen­eral in­for­ma­tion only and is not a so­lic­i­ta­tio

Eva Tracht­en­berg’s chil­dren learned about char­ity as soon as they could un­der­stand the con­cept.

“The first time it came up was af­ter a hol­i­day and my son re­ceived some money,” the Saska­toon mother of four re­calls. “I said, ‘We should do­nate it,’ and he didn’t know what that meant.”

From then on, she took every op­por­tu­nity to talk about dif­fer­ent char­i­ties and what they do: from the or­ga­ni­za­tion that helps their friends with ju­ve­nile di­a­betes to why the hospi­tal was dis­play­ing an in­cu­ba­tor at the lo­cal Wal­mart. She also en­rolled her son in the youth branch of a char­i­ta­ble giv­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion that Tracht­en­berg also joined.

Re­search shows that Tracht­en­berg’s ap­proach is an ef­fec­tive one. Ac­cord­ing to one study* phil­an­thropic pri­or­i­ties are strongly shaped by fam­ily be­hav­iours. So par­ents and grand­par­ents who give and vol­un­teer are more likely to in­flu­ence the next gen­er­a­tions to do the same.

The study also found that, when we give, we cre­ate pos­i­tive change in our com­mu­ni­ties. Be­ing a donor is good for our men­tal and phys­i­cal health and it re­minds peo­ple how much they have. Tracht­en­berg says she wants her chil­dren to “know that there are other peo­ple out there who are less for­tu­nate and need our help.” Here’s how to get your kids on the char­i­ta­ble giv­ing path early.

Start talk­ing By three or four years old, many chil­dren are ready to un­der­stand the ba­sics of char­ity. At the gro­cery store, hockey rink or shop­ping cen­tre, you can eas­ily find op­por­tu­ni­ties to talk about and demon­strate do­nat­ing and help­ing.

Be age ap­pro­pri­ate Bring­ing a six-year-old to a shel­ter to serve Christ­mas din­ner may be more of a hin­drance than a help. It’s im­por­tant to tai­lor the ac­tiv­ity to the child’s abil­i­ties. This could mean help­ing make cook­ies for a char­ity bake sale or shov­el­ling an el­derly neigh­bour’s drive­way.

Make it easy In­volve your kids in some­thing you al­ready do, such as do­nat­ing their old toys and clothes to char­ity. Ex­plain that th­ese things will help fam­i­lies in need and ask your child how they think the boys and girls re­ceiv­ing them will feel when they see their new things.

Let them de­cide Set up a char­ity jar and let your child de­cide how much of her al­lowance to do­nate as well as who should re­ceive the pro­ceeds. By be­ing part of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process, your child will feel more own­er­ship and pride in help­ing out.

Teach­ing chil­dren early about char­i­ta­ble giv­ing can help them be­come life­long phi­lan­thropists and both your fam­ily and your com­mu­nity will reap the re­wards. Your pro­fes­sional ad­vi­sor can

help you show your kids the value of giv­ing within a fi­nan­cial plan that al­lows them to do so with­out risk­ing their fi­nan­cial fu­ture.

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