This holiday season, teach your little ones about the joy and importance of giving to others. It’s an important character trait to teach our children that it is better to give than receive. There is a lot more to Christmas than the gifts. As parents, we tend to get carried away and overindulge our children with stuff this time of year. Let’s teach our kids to be grateful and thankful for what they do have. This year, focus on giving the the gift of gratitude.
Here are some practical tips provided from parenting.com:
Make gratitude a core value of your family life. Take time to stop and count your blessings. When your children receive a gift, teach them to pause and savor the moment. Focus on the generosity and kindness of the giver and talk about how the child will benefit from the gift, rather than how much the item cost or what it looks like. Insist that your child thank the giver verbally and make sure your kids write thank you notes.
Help your children make a list of gifts they are going to give. Contain the “gimme syndrome” by putting limits on the number of items kids can put on their holiday wish lists and how often they can add to or change the lists. Then, turn their attention (and yours) to concentrating on gifts they want to give to others. Encourage your kids to create homemade gifts as well as give gifts of service (reading to a sibling, spending time helping grandparents with household chores).
When your child gets something, have him or her give something away. Before the holiday season and gift-giving get too far underway, require that your children (and apply the same principle to yourself!) select gently used toys and clothes to donate to others. Remind your children that people are in need every day.
Involve your children in volunteer and service activity. Look for opportunities to engage in community service as a family. Many churches and other organizations sponsor “giving trees” during the holidays. Involve your children in choosing, wrapping, and delivering the items you will donate. Afterwards, take time to discuss with your children what they learned from their experience. Ask them to come up with additional ideas for service to others.
Stay Tuned for tomorrow’s list of more ways to give back this Christmas!
Sources: parenting.com, Laura Buddenberg, Boys Town Youth Care Training and Evaluation