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6 tips for raising generous kids

Easy ways to teach important lessons about the value of money


SMARTPHONES, VIDEO GAMES, THE HOTTEST TOYS, CELEBRITY SNEAKERS. You name it, your kids probably want it. And, of course, as a parent, you want to please your kids. But you also recognize the importance of establishing a charitable mindset from an early age.


“The question we often get from families is ‘How do I raise children to be generous, grounded and responsible adults?’” says Valerie Galinskaya, managing director and head of the Merrill Center for Family WealthTM. “Philanthropy can be a core tool to help you address that.”


According to a 2023 study, children ages 6 to 11 who volunteer are 25% more likely to be in excellent or very good health, 35% more likely to be considered “flourishing” and 36% less likely to exhibit behavioral problems.1 Other research has shown that children who are generous with prize tokens experience similar benefits to their well-being.2 To start the conversation about giving with your kids, Galinskaya suggests the following tips.


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1 K. Lanza, E.T. Hunt, D.S. Mantey, O. Omega-Njemnobi, B. Cristol, S.H. Kelder, “Volunteering, Health, and Well-being of Children and Adolescents in the United States,” JAMA Network Open, May 30, 2023.

2 Jonas G. Miller, Sarah Kahle, Natalie R. Troxel, Paul D. Hastings, “The Development of Generosity From 4 to 6 Years: Examining Stability and the Biopsychosocial Contributions of Children’s Vagal Flexibility and Mothers’ Compassion,” Frontiers in Psychology, November 5, 2020.


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