We live in a world with too much sadness, and in most cases, we’re forced to question our humanity. And while we hope to protect our kids from all the evil in the world, it’s clear that the only way for us to do that is by raising generous kids. Kids who will spread light in a world filled with darkness and sadness.
So, how do you raise generous kids who see the need to be good despite the grim circumstances in their childhood and adult like?
How do you teach your kids to share their toys and snacks wholeheartedly with their siblings and even strangers? How do you prevent your child from exploding with anger when their sibling, friend or stranger’s kid want a piece of their cake? Can they stop scratching, biting and screaming when they have to share what’s theirs?
If this is you, wondering what you could do to raise a great kid, then you are in the right place. To help you, we’d like you to answer these questions on nurturing generosity in kids.
But first, what’s the science behind generosity?
While you don’t expect the tutoring Richmond Hill lessons to capture these details, they could be too complicated for kids; you need to know why generosity is essential. And that, humans, are wired to be generous. The only catch is that sometimes we need positive and external reinforcements to act generously.
Also, seeing situations that make us happy and the ones that make us miserable affect our feelings but kids won’t know how to act on them unless they are taught.
Once kids understand the importance of being generous, they will take more actions geared towards generosity because these actions rewire the brain for more happiness. And, studies show that generosity spreads from one person to another inspiring what experts call the downward reciprocity.
And why do people feel happy when they act out of generosity? Well, it’s been proven scientifically that acting out of generosity stimulates the production and the release of feel-good chemicals (neurotransmitters) from the brain. At the same time, generosity boosts the production of oxytocin- the love hormone, serotonin – which regulates mood and prevents anxiety, and dopamine – the compound that makes us feel on top of the world.
Therefore, it means that being generous makes the world a better place full of happiness and love. Refreshing, isn’t it?
Also, science shows, that generosity breeds happier families and resilient persons.
So, how do you nurture generous kids?
- Do you share what you have and show it to your kids?
It’s one thing to be an anonymous giver but, it’s more important for you to let your kids know of the small things you do out of generosity.
Regardless of what you think, children will always pick generous behavior from the people around them. And, your generosity as a parent or guardian will pretty much determine if you’re kids are influenced by the positive or the negative way. The other thing you should know is that kids pick the generosity cues very early in their lives and so, you need to share and show it. Wondering why or how this happens? Well, it appears that kids model out of their kids’ generosity. As long as you’re generous and your kids know, it means that your kids will most likely act in the same manner.
- Do you show or encourage empathy?
Empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another and feeling what they are or could be feeling or going through. You could think of it as thinking about how others feel before talking or acting.
As you institute steps to nurture generosity, you’ll have to work so much harder to teach your child how to show empathy. Since kids are born with an ego, you have to bring down their ego and show them how they should act in the interests of the other person at heart. While girls are more empathetic than boys, you can show empathy by being empathetic too. A simple example is helping the less privileged or people affected by a natural calamity by donating foods and clothes. Also, let them donate something special to feel more connected.
To encourage empathy, make it a daily occurrence by asking either kid (the one feeling entitled) how they’d feel if their sibling took their toy or snack without asking them?
- Do you praise them for their generous needs?
The only way your kids become generous throughout their lives is mostly through positive reinforcement. So, even though it’s natural for kids to do nice things for others out of their own volition, you need to compliment your little one if they share a toy or help you carry groceries. Praising kids for altruistic behavior encourages them to do more generous acts.
- How often do you take turns?
Even though you can do things faster on your own or when you involve your older kids, your younger kids, however small, can help you with some tasks. It doesn’t have to be a big task. Taking turns is as simple as handing over objects back and forth or pushing the piano keys one after the other.
By taking turns, you’re socializing your kids to act generously – they learn that they have to give just as much or even more than they receive. In the long-run, you create a community that is full of caring and committed persons.
- Do you serve meals ‘family-style’?
Rather than serving out food evenly, let your kids help themselves to food during all meals. Though one of them may want more than the rest, they soon learn that everyone has to eat something and they’ll serve just enough food for themselves and leave the rest to their siblings and friends. However, you think about it, sharing meals is one of the most powerful things you can do to teach your kids about fairness and respect.
- How fair and thought-out are your comparisons?
If you’re not careful, generosity could lead to resentment and aversion especially if you hold one child in higher regard then the others. So, no unappealing comparisons.
Other strategies include:
- Helping your kids to discover how good it feels to give
- Make sure that your kids have a choice
- Spread the cheer everywhere you go with your kids.
Also, worth mentioning, you and your children could engage in non-traditional ways of giving including giving experiences, sharing gifts of support and strength, and sharing the gifts of wisdom.