Instilling Values in Our Children: Charitable Birthdays

Children’s birthday parties are always a ball.  It is a joy to see smiling, messy faces eating cake and ice cream after singing “Happy Birthday.”  Then there are the games such as bobbing for apples and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.  What could be more engaging? 

A popular theme that has encompassed several of our articles is centered around instilling giving values in our children and family.  We have talked about charity vacations for children, being a good mentor, and having a family wealth meeting

A trend that is emerging is turning childrens birthday parties into charitable events that focus on a cause important to them.  This is an effective way to teach our children and their friends about philanthropy and the fact that giving is more important (and fun) than receiving.

The steps to having a charitable party are pretty simple. 

  1. Plan a theme that is consistent with the interests of your child.  Whether it is a love for the outdoors, animals, the arts, or anything else that is close to their heart, start with choosing a theme for who you ultimately want this event to benefit. 
  2. Incorporate activities that go hand-in-hand with the theme.  Planting flowers at a retirement center (with their permission, of course) or making dog treats or bird feeders are a few ideas.
  3. Request donations instead of presents for the birthday boy or girl.  This could be monetary donations or actual items that go hand-in-hand with the theme such as food or toys for less fortunate families and animals. 

I’ve heard about several of these types of parties and the beautiful thing is that the children really enjoy it.  Some families give their children the option to either have a “traditional” birthday party or a charitable birthday party, and believe it or not, children have turned down receiving presents for their own benefit to instead give back to others.  If that type of philanthropic mentality is fostered during the younger years, the probability that they will take a charitable attitude later on in life is a positive one.    

It is a good idea to think of a non-profit that you specifically want to benefit prior to the party and consider contacting them for ideas of how this could be the most successful for both your child and the non-profit.  Also be sure to explain to the children at the party all of the good that they are doing, the difference they are making, and its’ importance in your community and the well-being of others.

By: Kristen Schmidt, Marketing Coordinator of CTAC

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