This post was written in partnership with WEYV. All opinions are my own.
Recently, my daughter celebrated her Bat Mitzvah, which is a religious milestone in a young Jewish woman’s life that helps her officially become part of her community as an adult (she’s only 13, so a pretty little adult at that!). As part of the occasion, her rabbi asked her to choose a charity she was passionate about and put some effort into raising funds on its behalf.
She has RUN with the project, choosing a charity her brother chose before her, called Adopt The Arts. ATA helps fund music programs in underfunded schools, supplying everything from instruments to budget for teachers and curriculum. As part of her assignment, she wrote:
“All I have known my whole life is music. I’ve always had access to it: to listen to, and to create with instruments all around me. I am so appreciative of that, because it’s changed my life. When I heard about this foundation, I knew it would be a perfect chance to help other kids have the same experience I did growing up.”
When you raise kids, you have no idea what they’ll appreciate and what they’ll take for granted. I mean, my daughter knows that not everyone has a warm, comfy bedroom to sleep in each night, that doesn’t stop her from leaving her clothes all over the floor (or chips and soda all over the music room for that matter, see above!). So if you asked me how to raise generous kids, some of it is science, and some of it is art… and lots of it depends on the nature of your child’s heart, and how much empathy is built “into the software,” as it were.
A few creative approaches to instilling responsibility and social awareness can go a long way, however, so when WEYV asked me to put down some thoughts on how to raise generous kids, I sat down and thought about a handful of tactics I’ve implemented over the years.
The WEYV app is a mash-up of Spotify (unlimited music) and Texture (unlimited magazines), so that you and your kids have immediate digital access to your favorite songs and reading material on your iOS or Android device at all times. Your kids can actually curate playlists and create their own reading library, all pre-downloaded for the moments they find themselves with downtime and zero Wi-Fi. And because WEYV is COPPA-compliant, parents can rest easy knowing their child is using WEYV safely and is not exposed to explicit content (nice to know your kids are in a safe place online every now and then!).
Here’s the charitable bit: For every song that your kid cues up on his or her smartphone or tablet, WEYV donates a small portion of the proceeds to a charity selected by or on behalf of that artist. In fact, 0.5 percent of the company’s revenue goes toward charity, which sets it apart from most apps who are focused on revenue, not on giving. WEYV makes it easy for kids to connect their everyday actions—a form of entertainment—to social awareness that’s not only relatable, but tangible, too. A win-win.
Here are some other helpful ideas on how to raise more generous, charity-minded kids:
Put Them to Work
It may sound basic or even obvious, but kids actually get great personal satisfaction out of working for money. It can be a simple household task with an opportunity for them to earn some extra cash, but to teach them responsibility and the value of giving back, try this tactic: Some of the money is theirs to keep, but some goes into a charity box that you’ll use to make donations to an organization of their choice. (You can decide the percentages — say, 75 percent earned, 25 percent to charity.)
Make it Relatable
This goes for adults as much as for kids: If you can’t connect with the cause you’re contributing to, it’s harder to see the purpose or benefit of giving back. As a parent, help your kids seek out brands or companies that combine children’s interests and everyday life with charity. For example, I’m a huge fan of Pencils of Promise for education, Milk & Bookies for books, Jonas Paul Eyewear for glasses andYoobi for school and crafting supplies.
And More Tangible, Too
It’s a little abstract to teach kids to just “give money to charity.” Instead, once your kids find a cause they care about, help them set a specific goal they can understand. For example, when we raise X amount of dollars, we can go to Target and buy 10 blankets for the animal shelter or presents for four children who wouldn’t otherwise have Christmas gifts. By quantifying their giving, it helps them see the immediate impact—and simultaneously appreciate similar items in their own life.
Find Apps That Give Back and Gamify Giving
This is an area of the tech world that I’m particularly excited about, not to mention something that’s quite easy for kids to connect with as you try to teach them the value of social awareness and helping others. Think about it: Their smartphone is a part of their daily—and sometimes, hourly—existence at this point. In addition to WEYV, these apps fit within their everyday lifestyle and interests, but also incentivize them to give back:
Charity Miles: Consider it a bonus every time your kid walks the dog or squeezes in an after-school run. Thisapp will help them log dollars toward a cause they care about every time they walk, jog or bike. All they have to do is activate the app every time they exercise and it will work like a pedometer to track their distance and calculate the money earned on behalf of their cause. (FYI, it’s 10 cents a mile for biking and 25 cents a mile for walking/running.)
One Today: Teach your kids how far just $1 can go withthis app from Google that makes it easy to track how a good deed—in this case, your kid’s donation—makes for a better tomorrow. It works like this: After logging in, your kid can choose a cause or project they care about to contribute to, then follow along through real-world photos and summaries that show the impact of their participation and efforts.
What tactics do you rely on for teaching your kids to think beyond themselves? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks to WEYV for partnering on this post, and thank YOU for supporting our sponsors, who allow us to create great content for you on CarleyK!