Cultivating Generosity at Every Stage

By Danielle Lenne

If you’re a parent or guardian, you may be wondering how to teach your kids about this big idea of “generosity”. Generosity can mean so many things, but when a lot of us think about this word, we think of money. Since children don’t have jobs, does this mean they can’t be generous yet? Of course not! You may have heard this phrase before that we can be generous with our time, talents and resources. Let’s look at how to apply this to kids!

Toddlers Can Show Generosity Through Time

  1. Look for Everyday Opportunities: Look for intentional time to be generous in the day to day. Toddlers can practice generosity at an age-appropriate level by helping parents with simpler tasks like chores around the home or learning to share toys with siblings.
  2. Devotional and Prayer Time: There are many stories in the Bible that show examples of generosity. Create a habit to learn about generosity from the Bible. During this time, pray for each other and for God to give you all a heart full of gratitude for what He has given you. You can pray for others who you know are struggling or need help. Praying for others is one of the most generous ways to spend your time.
  3. Forming Traditions as a Family: At this age, you can start forming traditions as a family where you intentionally bless someone else! Maybe it’s hosting a play date with another family once a month, or maybe it’s doing something around the holidays that kids can look forward to every year, even as they grow older.

Preschoolers Can Show Generosity Through Time and Talent

  1. Model Generosity: Take intentional time to talk through ways your preschooler can start to show kindness and generosity outside the home - maybe keep a stash of granola bars or other supplies in your car to give to those who are homeless in the city. Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog or water their plants while they’re away. Providing opportunites like these can help them desire and learn to show God’s love to others.
  2. Homemade Gifts: A fun way for kids to show generosity to a neighbor or loved one is through a homemade gift, like baked goods or a craft to share. As a family, you can take time learn a new skill together, like baking, and practice generosity by sharing what you made with someone who needs some encouragement. Have your child color a picture to go along with it! Those who will receive these gift will see how generous you both were with your time!
  3. Volunteer Opportunities: There are many ways for your kid to volunteer outside of church. At this age, kids want to help adults, and they can focus on an activity for up to 15 minutes You can use the link above to find age-appropriate ways for your kids to serve alongside you, like at shelters that allow families to sort clothes together, or pack hygiene kits together for a foster and adoption family.

Elementary Kids Can Show Generosity Through Time, Talent, and Resources

  1. Teach Stewardship: Talk with your kids about what stewardship means. Stewardship says that everything belongs to God. In Psalm 24:1 we read, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” This includes our time, talents and resources. This means we have an opportunity to honor God by how we manage what He has generously given to us. Helping your kids understand that this principle is the foundation of biblical finance, will help them live out the following steps below. Watch this 90-second video from Pastor Aaron as he explains the concept of Stewardship
  2. Discuss Tithing: If you currently give your child an allowance, start sharing with them the biblical view of tithing and returning 10% to God. Share with them your experience of tithing and the importance of trusting God with your finances. Have them set aside 10% of their allowance to give to your local church. This begins to instill in them the practice of trusting God and giving to Him first.
  3. Sponsor a child: In addition to tithing, you can make a difference globally in the lives of vulnerable children in Kenya and Peru through two of our outreach partners, Missions of Hope International and Compassion International. If you sponsor a child, allow your elementary aged child to be a bigger part of that! Help them lift their eyes to see that God is a God of the nations, and we can be generous with people across the world! Whether it’s creating a way for them raise money to put toward the donation every month or have them write a letter to your child; they could be a part of supporting a child their age across the world.
  4. Continue Your Traditions: Let kids have a bigger role in the traditions and volunteer opportunities you have set in place. Let them invite friends and other families to do it with you and make a bigger impact! Give kids some options and have them be a part of choosing what you will do or where you will serve. Letting them have some ownership will empower them!

Generosity begins with you and you can begin now! It’s not too late to begin to teach your kids how to be a blessing to others.