Teach Your Daughter Generosity In 5 Simple Steps
The SANTA Switch is officially underway in the Weidemann household, but that hasn't stopped my little sweetheart from giving me some of the regular jabs in the gift-giving department. I've heard a lot of talk over the last week about presents she wants and, yes Rooney, I found the newspaper ad inserts you laid out on the ottoman with multiple toys, dolls, and games encircled in expectant halos of Sharpie. She's many things, but subtle isn't one of them. :)
For most of us, generosity is something that needs to be intentionally nurtured and encouraged. That is why I am so excited to welcome Linda Kramer to the blog today. Frankly, I think we could all use a few new and simple ways to promote generosity at home with our girls. I know I could. :)
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Every parent wants their child to grow up with a strong set of values, and that includes a desire to provide for others in need.
Generosity, however, doesn’t come naturally to everyone – perhaps due to a variety of factors.
Think about it: do you have memories from your childhood when being “generous” actually cost you something? Maybe belongings were never returned, or damaged, or the reaction from the person on the receiving end was less than what you expected. Either way, sometimes giving isn't all it's cracked up to be.
But here's the thing: helping our girls associate generosity as a positive choice, regardless of the outcome, can be the catalyst for increasing the size of your girl's heart (Grinch, anyone?).
Below are five simple ways you can lead this effort with her.
1. Be a Generous Mom
One sure-fire way to encourage generosity is to lead by example. Our girls look up to us, so they intuitively perceive that our actions are right and true (even when they're not).
When your daughter needs something, seeks you out for advice or support, or makes a request, be generous with your time, patience, and resources.
Do your best to accommodate these requests and use them as opportunities to show her what real generosity looks like.
Consistency is key. Focus on small acts that will weave the value of generosity into the fabric of your household.
2. Take Advantage of Gifting Occasions
Most of us enjoy receiving gifts; whether they're for our birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas – all of us know that warm and fuzzy feeling we get when someone went out of their way to make something special for each of us.
And, it makes sense that the feeling is reciprocal.
Research by the University of Chicago suggests that the joy of giving lasts much longer than the joy of receiving.
So how exactly can you teach your daughter this?
Take her on a giving mission. Let her make or choose a gift for someone. Have her wrap it, deliver it, and experience that intangible feeling of making someone else feel happy and important.
3. Practice Hospitality
I think we can all agree that generosity should be a natural part of our lives, and hospitality is one way we can make this a daily practice instead of just something that's nice in theory.
Encourage your daughter to invite friends to your house and make them feel as welcome as possible.
Get a family hospitality plan together that extends further than simply a warm greeting at the door. Brainstorm together what your family team can do to truly make the experience of being in your home warm, inviting, and unforgettable.
When you decide together how to approach creating a truly welcoming environment, what began as intentional will eventually becomes something natural.
4. Volunteer Together
Women. We are social creatures. From our daily conversations with friends and family, to the connections we make with people we meet, Maryville University suggests that these connections are the very foundations of every experience we have.
One of the most effective ways to teach your daughter generosity is to have her doing the work of generosity.
Volunteering for charities, churches, and similar organizations will create experiential learning opportunities and lessons for life as she will carry with her long after she sets out on her own. And there’s a good chance she will continue to carry out charitable acts for years to come.
5. Praise Generous Acts
Affirming even the smallest acts of generosity will make your girl more likely to repeat that action in the future. In fact, a behavioral guidelines checklist published by Utah State University notes that the best time to praise them is immediately after the deed itself.
Hear that? When she does something good for someone else, call it out right away. Help her associate that positive action with an immediate sense of gratification.
Much the way kindness is better, not as a random act, but as an intentional choice to be thoughtfully executed (see earlier blog post), generosity should be poignant and purposeful.
Generosity, whether it is well-planned or spontaneous, is always the right choice. Let's have fun this holiday season (and all year long) showing our girls how truly gratifying it is to live a generous life.
Thank you, Linda, for guest posting for us today!
***Linda Kramer is an avid writer, hobbyist, and a proud mother of two beautiful daughters. She likes to cook and bake during her spare time.
Have an awesome day!
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