One of the hardest parts of being a parent is teaching kids positive values and traits that will help them grow up to be respectful, caring adults. Things like giving, sharing and volunteering are all things children should learn, but how can you teach them in a fun and meaningful way? Here are some ideas that make learning these values enjoyable for both parent and child.

Value: Giving

Teaching a child the importance of giving can be complex. One way to do this is to allow the child to get something they want and then give something to charity. With today’s struggling economy, the idea of giving is even more important. One organization that holds this value high is the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, a non-profit organization that collects and distributes toys to economically disadvantaged children during the holidays.

Go online to with your child and look for your local drop-off site. Then take your child to the toy store and help them pick out a toy for donation. Maybe they can pick a toy for themselves, but they also have to pick one out that can be given away. Not only will your child be able to get a new toy to play with, but you both can be proud to know you’re making a difference.

Value: Saving

The concept of saving money is difficult for many children to grasp. If they get money for their birthday or the holidays, they are likely to want to head right to the store to spend it. Instead of allowing kids to blow all their cash, encourage them to save money so they can get a larger item that they want, rather than small impulsive purchases. Do they want to get a new TRANSFORMERS action figure, add to their LITTLEST PET SHOP mini doll collection, or get the latest MONOPOLY game? Ask them to save their money from various sources until they have enough and accompany them to the store so they can purchase the item themselves, making it an exciting and rewarding experience.

If your child doesn’t receive a lot of cash as gifts, you can encourage them to save money through various other ways. For example, encourage the child to recycle empty soda pop cans and once you have a decent amount, bring them to the recycling center for a payout that can go directly into savings. Also, if the child wants a particularly expensive item, you might consider matching them dollar for dollar, so they still learn savings, but it doesn’t take too long to reach their goal.

Value: Volunteering

Volunteering your time is an important component in our society. Without the many dedicated volunteers, many non-profit organizations could not exist. Therefore, volunteering is a value that should be taught when children are young so that in the future they give back to the community they live in.

The great thing about volunteering is it’s something the whole family can participate in. There are so many opportunities, you can really tailor your volunteer experience to what interests your family. Does your child have a love for animals? Call the local animal shelter and ask about volunteering requirements. Do they like to cook? The local soup kitchen or food shelf usually needs help. Even if they just want to spend some quality time with other children you might consider volunteering at a women’s shelter or group home, where mom and dad can work with adults and children can simply have some one-on-one time just being kids.

Teaching children important values doesn’t have to be difficult or boring. There are many ways to create a fun experience that is both enjoyable and beneficial. Remember to always explain the lesson and how the child is helping others. Before you know it, they might be doing these great things on their own, without requiring your guidance. And what parent wouldn’t be proud of that?

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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