Giving Back: How to Teach Young Kids to Give Back
Teaching Young Kids About Giving Back
Learning the true meaning of giving is such an important concept to understand throughout life and important to introduce at a young age. Being able to consider another person and how they might think and feel during certain times is an invaluable lesson in humanity and one will that be of great value to your growing child. But how do we teach this abstract concept to a young child? We need to consider the type of developmental stage our child is in and how a young child learns.
How to Approach Giving Back with Kids
According to Piaget’s 4 stages of cognitive development, young children ranging in age from 2-7 are in the preoperational stage. This is the stage where children begin to think more symbolically, but still, have a hard time seeing past a concrete reasoning. Children in this stage tend to be very egocentric and have a hard time thinking beyond their own thoughts and feelings; this is helpful to know when we approach new concepts that are slightly beyond their thinking, such as giving. Because this concept involves consideration of others, children need to learn how to think in that manner. So how should one approach this?
Children learn through modeling. During this stage, they are really good at pretend play and mimicking what they know. When teaching new concepts to children, you need to be able to relate to the world they know. One approach of introducing giving back is cleaning out their room with them. This is a great time of year because they will be getting new gifts and toys from the holidays. You can talk about needing to make room for new things and how there are other children who would love these toys just as much as you have. How it is time to share. Together decide what toys would be good to give away to make someone else happy. Talk about how this toy can make someone happy. For example, someone would love this puzzle, because it is so much fun to find pieces that fit together. Someone would have a great time putting this puzzle together because puzzles are fun! Keep the language simple and relatable to them. Once you have gathered your items, bring them with you to donate the items so they can see the entire process.
When teaching a child a new concept, it is key for them to be able to relate to it. Children learn by modeling and mimicking. If they have no concept of something, it will be difficult for them to understand the concept without having anything to tie it to. This year, I took my daughter to the store to buy a new toy to donate to the children at the hospital. For her, this was something she could really relate to because she was in the hospital unfortunately last Christmas. She was able to open up a gift on Christmas morning and a smile was brought to her face. The stuffed animal she received is her favorite animal and she sleeps with it every night. She was very excited to be able to deliver a gift to the hospital to make another child feel happy on Christmas day.
How do you approach this concept with your child? Are you introducing giving back in your household?