"Why don't people have homes?" she asks. "Ask your child what she thinks the reasons might be, and then talk about ways you can try to make a difference. Children often have a very strong sense of justice, and like to take action." Vanderkam suggests volunteering as a family or giving away coats and hats the kids have outgrown. "If you haven't already," she adds, "this is a great time to introduce the concepts of both giving and taxes. Talk about how Mommy and Daddy earn money and give some of it to charity, and pay some of it to the government, which also uses it to pay for homes and meals."
Taking volunteerism a step further, Morrison points to teachers who have helped students raise money for charity instead of holding a coat drive or spending an afternoon at a soup kitchen. For instance, one elementary school class in an economically challenged area made lunches, sold them to teachers, and gave the proceeds to charity. She adds that even very young children can grasp the concept of helping others. "I think as soon as you start teaching children how to share toys, they're already giving up something they really want for somebody to be happy," she says. "It's helping somebody else instead of doing for yourself."