April 28th is ‘Pay It Forward’ Day, which focuses on acting kindly towards others and challenges everyone to perform 1-3 good deeds for someone else without asking for anything in return.
Both younger and older kids often need a bit of prompting to pay it forward! As parents, it’s up to us to teach them to be less self-centred and more thoughtful of others. As mentioned in our previous article 5 Easy Ways to Pay It Forward, one manner in which we can do this is by modelling the kind and selfless behaviour we want our children to emulate, but this will only get you so far.
The best way to follow this up is to show your kids that, with minimal effort, they too can pay it forward. You can use the suggestions below to facilitate such kindness, by inspiring and helping them to bring these ideas to life.
Easy Ways Your Kids Can ‘Pay It Forward’
Make fundraising fun
Though you may need to provide some assistance setting up their fundraising page, there are lots of ways kids can raise money for a worthy cause. Some popular fundraisers that kids can take part in include the 40-hour famine, Jump Rope by Heart, the Greatest Shave and MS Read-a-thon, but if these are not causes or activities that your child has an interest in, then you’ll get more out of browsing the ACNC Charities Register together and coming up with your own personal fundraiser.
Maybe they’d like to shave their head, hold a cake stall in the neighbourhood or sell other things they may make like beaded jewelry, pressed flower art etc. and then give their profits to a charity of their choice.
Clean up the neighbourhood
Arm yourself and your children with gloves and bags and go for a walk together around your neighbourhood or along a local beach. Pick up any rubbish you see along the way. This easy act keeps kids active while also making the environment cleaner for us all.
Make a donation, no matter how small
Donating is not limited to adults and you’ve probably heard many charities before say that if everyone just gave a little, then they’d have a lot. You should impress upon your child that no donation is too small because every bit helps, and encourage them to donate a portion of their pocket money (or wage if they’re already in the workforce) to a cause they’d like to support.
Choose from one of these charities within the Sutherland Shire or encourage them to pick a cause they care about from the ACNC Charities Register. Make sure you spend a little bit of time on the charity’s website reading about the work they do and explaining to your child the difference their monetary gift will make.
Kids who aren’t yet earning pocket money or wages can donate the toys, books or clothes they are no longer using instead. Make your kids part of the process (from sorting through their things to dropping it off at a local op-shop) so they feel they’re the ones paying it forward rather than that you’re doing it on their behalf.
You can also go with your children to donate items like these to local animal shelters such as Sutherland Shire Animal Shelter and Shire Animal Rescue.
Give without cause or expectation
Lots of kids love to make things and many of you probably already bake with your kids from time to time or encourage them to make birthday cards for friends and family members. How often, though, do you suggest that your child makes something for someone “just because” or for somebody they don’t know just to brighten their day?
You can encourage or help your kids make edible gifts like cookies (or cookies-in-a-jar mixes), marshmallows, infused oils, pancake mixes, bliss balls and muesli bars. If you have crafty kids, take them with you to help pick out the supplies to make beautiful and useful gifts like bookmarks, fridge magnets, earrings, trinket dishes, stamped necklaces, soap and bath salts. Very little kids are still able to make sweet cards covered in stickers, cut-out pictures, pieces of ribbon and wrapping paper.
With your kids, you can deliver these gifts (without signing your or their name to them) in neighbourhood letter boxes, to a retirement village, fire station, homeless shelter or respite service. If they can’t give it to the people they are helping, you can bet the volunteers will be touched and glad to accept the gift.
Pay someone a compliment
Kids get a lot of compliments but aren’t always so great at paying them to other people. If your kids are younger, speak to them about why we give compliments, how it makes people feel and suggest some different ways in which they could compliment someone they know. Challenge them to try and give 3-5 compliments in one day and check in with them at the end of the day to see who they complimented, what they said, and ask them how the person receiving the compliment reacted.
If you have a teenager who likes animals or is good with children, you could suggest that they offer to help walk the pets of a busy or elderly pet owner, or offer free babysitting to a friend or neighbour.
We hope you’re able to use these ideas to ‘pay it forward’ and teach your children the value of kindness towards all people.