Three's A'loud

Playing it forward

We often complain that our kids are being raised to be unthankful, artificial and shallow. So what can be more important than instilling in our children a willingness to give back? As they say “No one can do everything but everyone can do something.”

So today I gladly share with you some inspiration on how we can involve our kids in charity. And even more: make it fun and rewarding as opposed to a duty or a chore.

  1. Have a birthday party at a local children’s home.

    I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite things about having kids is going completely overboard on their birthday parties. So next time you look for an exclusive venue that all your friends haven’t already featured on their timelines, why not contact your local children’s home? Many establishments have beautiful playgrounds and play areas. Invite the resident kids to join the party and all your hard work will be appreciated not only by one but by a dozen or so happy dirty faces on a sugar rush.

    More ideas to get your creative party juices flowing:

    • If you know of an establishment that don’t have adequate facilities for the kids to play, ask your friends and family to donate money towards a playground instead of getting your precious bundle of joy another Princess Elsa.
    • If you want to take the idea above to a whole new level… why not get friends and family to build the playground and then have the party there?
    • Ask your guests to buy gifts for the kids instead of for your child. A shoe-birthday-party (inspired by Cinderella’s glass slipper) for a two year old girl was celebrated at a safe house for underprivileged families in Vanderbijlpark a few years ago. We requested a list of the resident children’s shoe sizes and asked friends, family and colleagues to each donate one pair of shoes. Saying the kids were delighted with their gifts does not even begin to cover it and the birthday girl was over the moon with her pretty pair of shoes like everyone else.

  2. Let the kids make or bake something to donate to a local charity.

    A much simpler option (let’s be honest, we are not all Pinterest mom’s with bucket loads of free time on our hands) is to simply make something with your kids to donate later. Personal time with your little one plus giving back equals a win-win every time. My own 5 year old and her friends decorated cupcakes at her Chef party this year and after the party we delivered the cupcakes to a local children’s home.

  3. Visit an old age home with your children…

    …but make it fun! Take a boardgame or take some cupcakes – anything that will make it fun for the younger as well as the older generation. How about taking your child’s favourite DVD and organising a movie afternoon with popcorn? The thing with all the recent kids’ blockbusters is that they are also hugely entertaining to adults. The movie “Up” features the friendship between a boy and a pensioner and is just one of many animated movies that would be ideal.

  4. Go through their toys or old clothes and give it to someone less fortunate.

    Let them sort through old toys and clothes for things they don’t use anymore and donate it to someone less fortunate. When they swear high and low that they can’t live without this teddy bear that they haven’t touched in 4 years, agree and then add it to the box later. 99% of the time they will only realise it in another 4 years… if ever. Seriously though, it might not always be easy for them to give away their things but it is a very precious quality to learn.

  5. Set the example

    Finally, research suggests that children are 3 times more likely to be involved in charity if their parents are involved as well. If you are able to give, then do so at every opportunity and if you are able to give your time, even better.

Our lovely country still has a long way to go on the road to healing, but raising the next generation with a spirit of thankfulness and willingness to spread love, laughter and cupcakes is certainly a huge step in the right direction.

This article was first published on Master of Quills

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