Raise a Generous Child: Ages 3-5


Want to raise a generous child? Here are five things to do.

Pre-school children are little sponges, and they're keen observers. They are ready to understand sharing but still find it hard to do.

Here are ways to help the children in your life practice becoming a cheerful giver.

  • Model generosity by being kind and generous to those in need. Idea: Keep granola bars in your car or bag to give out to the homeless, or take a meal to a sick neighbor.
  • Talk about generosity and point out when you see others being generous. “Oh, look how Madison is sharing her cookies. How generous of her.”
  • When there’s a gift to give, let the child help select, wrap, and give it, so they get practice giving.
  • Practice hospitality by welcoming other children into your home, so kids get practice sharing their space and their toys with others.
  • Don’t force generosity or giving. Instead, give positive reinforcement when you see children sharing, giving, or being generous. Tip: School psychologist Whitney Hutcheson recommends using “I statements” to help children build awareness about how their behavior impacts others. For example, “When I saw you sharing your favorite toy with your friend, that made me feel happy.” It also works when addressing negative behavior. “When you hit your sister, that hurt my heart.”

Photo©2014 World Vision, Marilyn K. Yee


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