How Can I Help My Children Understand Poverty


“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

Teaching children about the effects of poverty can help them better appreciate what they already have and to encourage them to help those less fortunate. 

By giving children the facts about poverty straight, it will also help give them a better picture of the world. A healthy dose of reality is often better for kids than shielding them completely from it. 

Teaching Kids About Poverty

While children do need to be protected from many of the world’s harshest realities until they are old enough, sheltering them completely can have undesirable effects.

The matter of poverty, for example, is one of those things that they simply have to know ahead of time. This is especially important for families with modest means.

Knowing about economic limits will help children understand the role of money, its effects on everyday life when there is not enough of it, and how difficult it is to get.

Why Poverty Awareness Matters

Teaching children about poverty will not automatically make poverty go away. However, it will be beneficial in a lot of different ways.

More humility and appreciation 

Children who understand that there are those who are much less fortunate than they are, are more likely to develop empathy for them. 

They are also more likely to understand the value of the hard work that parents put into giving them the life that they have.

Better awareness of social issues

Children who are aware of social issues like poverty, war, and hunger tend to function better in society.

Addressing a major reality 

Poverty is not something that can be hidden from children forever. The sooner they learn about it, the sooner they can cope.

Improving social interactions

It is inevitable that your child will meet others from different social standings.

By having a better idea of what it is like for others to be poor, they will have a better sense of how they should act, speak, or treat their less fortunate peers. 

Preventing bad habits 

Children who have been shielded from the realities of the world tend to act in a dissociative manner from the rest of society.

This can manifest in the form of bad habits such as arrogance, unearned self-confidence, or a sense of entitlement. An education in poverty can help address these issues.

Educational Activities for Teaching About Poverty

In order to really impress the importance of understanding poverty to children and how it can affect their own lives, a few educational activities might be handy. 

To start with, the following suggestions should provide you with plenty of opportunities to do just that:


Volunteering at shelters, soup kitchens, or just about any kind of charity drive can help hammer the point of poverty home like no other.

Your child will basically be exposed to the lives of the least fortunate in their most unadulterated states. 

By allowing them to participate, however, you will at least empower them with the knowledge that they are doing something about it.

No matter how small their contributions, they are still contributing

Reading stories 

There is much about the world that can be taught to children by simply reading them stories. 

With regard to poverty, the solution can be largely the same. You can read to your child stories where characters or settings are appropriate for the subjects.

There are many fables, fairy tales, and cultural stories where the main characters came from unfortunate backgrounds, only to rise to prominence.

Of course, there can also be some real-life examples that you could give your child about fighting poverty by prominent figures in history. 

Social gatherings

It is very important that you expose your child to different kinds of people of all genders, ages, ethnicities, and of course, economic statuses. 

By mingling with so many diverse crowds at an early age, your child becomes less prone to discriminatory qualities.

More importantly, his mind will develop in such a way as to better cope with situations where he will be grouped with such people in the future.

He will have better social skills to handle those kinds of cases and he will ultimately be able to sympathize better with those less fortunate than he is. 

Educational videos

With this being the age of the internet, it only makes sense to take advantage of the current number of educational video contents available.

Many of these tackle some of the world’s most serious problems in constructive manners that are easy for children to understand.

A lot of these educational videos cover poverty, of course, and a considerable number of them are actually free.

They can be accessed via online platforms like YouTube while others are more restricted and might even require you to download an app.

It is worth reminding parents, however, that screen time should be limited for children.

Show them solutions 

Finally, provide your child with a vision of the future where he can actually act on the information that he has gained.

To know poverty is to understand how it can be solved. Or, at the very least, how it can be alleviated.

Children have the boundless capacity for patience and learning if they are guided well.

If there is a problem that needs solving, the right education and inspiration can be all that is needed.

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