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How to encourage kids to give back

Charity really does begin at home.

Here are tips from the Family Dinner Project, a grass-roots movement to encourage eating well and talking over dinner about things that really matter, about how to encourage children to give back.

1. Text or call someone you appreciate: Talk about people your family appreciates, then take the time to text or call them, telling them so. Talk as a family about the person’s reaction and how it felt to share your gratitude.

2. Discuss ways to “pay it forward”: Explain that means that when we do something nice for someone, they can then do something nice for someone else. Brainstorm ways to pay it forward together. Examples include putting money in an almost-expired meter or passing along a book you liked for someone else to enjoy.

3. Plan to combine dinner and service: Think of ways to use some of your dinner time to help other people enjoy a great meal. Volunteer together at a food bank once a month at dinner time, or make a meal as a family and deliver it to someone who has limited time or resources.

4. Make giving a part of your regular life: Ask your kids to divide their allowance into three jars: spend, save and give. Establish a family give jar into which everyone contributes. Show your children where you donate your own money.