I had a lovely conversation with a student at our coupon workshop and she disclosed to me that people used to take advantage of the free food given by the local churches. The churches had to come together to create a single place to distribute food to make sure everyone got their fair share. It got me thinking, were these adults raised to be greedy? Is this nature or nurture? I am not sure but I know what we do at our home to teach our children to be generous and thoughtful.
We share. I know sounds simple but not to a four year old who was once 1, 2, and 3. At each stage we had him share. The amount and items differed but the concept of sharing was one we taught. We taught him to ask for things. We taught to accept when people said no. We taught him he is not entitled to something just because he wants it (still working on this) . He will say, “I know I can’t have that right now and that is okay because I have other things but I really want it, okay.”
We also taught him the concept of others. We talk to him about how other people would be effected by his behavior. I would say if you choose to keep the block it will make Sally sad. “Do you want to make Sally sad.” Yes, he would answer YES sometimes. I would then say, “If Sally is sad, would she want to play with you again?”. I would continue this sort of conversation until I got him to see how his choice effected her.
We work very hard to teach our child to take what he needs and pass on the rest. He has a box upstairs that he places toys in that he is done with and ready for another child to enjoy. I have a bin in the garage for beauty products for donation. We talk the talk and walk the walk.
Here are 3 simple things you can do right now to teach a child to care:
1) Bake cookies wrap one up for someone special and let your child give it to them.
2) When your child gets a new toy, then an old toy goes to a new home (we also pick 3 birthday presents each year to donate to a shelter during the holidays)
3) Volunteer with your child (mine sorts coupons for the military he does it while watching blue clues).