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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 Matthew Wesley, a managing director in the Merrill Center for Family WealthTM. “Philanthropy can be a core tool to help you address that.”


In a 2020 study, children ages 4 to 6 played a game where they were asked to donate tokens. Heart rate activity showed that they experienced a physical sense of soothing after they gave, and those who mothers scored higher on a compassion scale were found more likely to be generous.1 To start the conversation about giving with your kids, Wesley suggests the following tips.


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1 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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